Daily Clips: November 12th, 2015

Daily Clips: November 12th, 2015

Homeless students and college: I must confess, prior to reading this article I had no idea that 56,000 college students in the US were homeless. These students oftentimes have many barriers to graduation, and so Senator Patty Murray “this week reintroduced legislation to end financial aid requirements that ask students to verify their living situation every year and supply documentation stating they’re homeless.” Democrats scheduled debates on days when nobody will watch: The next Democratic debate is scheduled for this Saturday night – the one day of the week where most people have plans or don’t want to engage with the realities of life. This debate isn’t a one-off either. They also scheduled a debate six days before Christmas (which also happens to be on a Saturday)! All said, “half of the six [Democratic] debates are on days that are just bad if you want a wide viewership.” Thanks, Debbie. Look, this stinks of backroom deals. As Democrats, we should be proud of the politicians we’ve put forward for the 2016 race. While Republicans are front and center in the national conversation, Democrats have retreated. Why? To diffuse Bernie’s momentum? To make sure the American people don’t get sick of Hillary? Whatever the reason, the scheduling comes off as sketchy. The insanity of Republican economics:  “As Grunwald notes, the problem here is that the current GOP still can’t digest awkward facts. The success of the TARP bailout is ideologically antithetical to everything the GOP stands for right now. More generally, a robust call for greater deregulation in the financial sector evokes the ghosts of financial bubbles past. In this sector, it is difficult for traditional Republican policies to resonate. The response to this seemed to be just asserting things that were not true.” Students marching for free college:  According to Reuters, students are set to walk out of classrooms across the nation in order to protest increasing tuition fees and student loan debt. The movement’s organizers say, “Education should be free.
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Watch the Republican Frontrunners Argue Against Raising the Minimum Wage

Watch the Republican Frontrunners Argue Against Raising the Minimum Wage

For me, the most meaningful part of last night’s debate came in the first fifteen minutes, when the three frontrunners were asked about raising the minimum wage. They all argued against it. Donald Trump even argued that wages are too high in America right now. I’ve already pointed out that these arguments are lies and unfounded threats . Even though the candidates said a lot of untrue things—maybe especially because they said untrue things—it’s important to remember their replies. These clips could likely come in handy later on, if one of these candidates makes it to the general election and tries to convince voters that they care about average Americans. These videos show them arguing the opposite, in their own words. Al Jazeera’s Gregg Levine, too, debunked the candidate claims in an excellent article that you should read.

Daily Clips: November 11th, 2015

Daily Clips: November 11th, 2015

The GOP is living in a fantasy world:  For those of you who tuned into last night’s Fox Business “debate,” you’ll know that every single one of the candidates peddled the same-old trickle-down platforms. Less regulation, more tax cuts = economic growth! Amanda Marcotte at Salon summarizes their flirtation with economic fantasy: The continued popularity of Donald Trump and Ben Carson clearly sent a signal to the rest of the field that primary voters simply hate reality, particularly when it comes to economics, and will swiftly punish any candidate who feeds them anything but soothing, if ridiculous fantasies. She’s right, but the denial of reality was apparent within this party long before Trump and Carson showed up. In the face of decades of economic research, these corporate puppets continue to dish out the same economic treatments with slightly different language. If the American people are not smart enough to see that, they may win this election in 2016. Ben Carson lied about the minimum wage: In last night’s debate, Carson claimed that “Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases.” PolitiFact rated this as “False” and concluded, “it’s not at all clear that a minimum-wage hike was the primary culprit for the periods in which joblessness rose, since those periods also coincided with broader recessions in the economy.” The 8 weirdest economic ideas from the GOP debate:  There were some doozies: 1. The Fed should stop controlling interest rates 2. The TPP is a Chinese conspiracy 3. The Fed caused the 2008 crash by raising interest rates

The Republican Candidates Lied About the Minimum Wage in Tonight’s Debate

The Republican Candidates Lied About the Minimum Wage in Tonight’s Debate

Let’s briefly sum up the debate performances of the Republican candidates who don’t really matter in the long run: John Kasich floundered. Rand Paul got in one good hit on Donald Trump and then faded into the background. Jeb Bush seemed to find his pace for about thirty seconds before collapsing into the same old catastrophe that he’s been since he first announced his candidacy for president. Carly Fiorina was fine, but she doesn’t have what it takes to attract voters. And the frontrunners, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, did exactly what they needed to do: they floated above the fray, speaking directly to their supporters and avoiding any topics that were not their pet issues. This debate was about two men: Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Rubio was exactly the kind of presidential candidate he needed to be. He launched an unprovoked attack on Rand Paul, simply so he could deliver a practiced rant on foreign policy. He talked about the economy and blue collar workers with concern on his face. He was a little wobbly when a moderator lobbed him a softball question about the difference between he and Hillary Clinton, but maybe that was just because the question was so easy that he was taken by surprise. There’s something about Rubio’s approach that rubs me raw–too overproduced, trying a little too hard–but it was easy to imagine him as the Republican nominee tonight. He had the comportment of a winning candidate. Cruz, though, is the sleeper. There was a moment where he dove in on John Kasich on the topic of banking bailouts. It was a ridiculous moment in American politics, because they were both trying to sound like populists, even though Kasich is a former Lehman Brothers employee and Cruz’s wife until recently worked at Goldman
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Takeaways From “The Kids’ Table” Debate

Takeaways From “The Kids’ Table” Debate

The first GOP debate of the night has come and gone. Thankfully, Fox Business spared us all by making the “kids table” debate shorter than usual. Here are some of my takeaways: As Paul Constant predicted earlier this morning , Chris Christie clearly came off as the best candidate of the bunch. He never took the bait on any of Bobby Jindal’s (numerous) attacks and instead took every opportunity to bash Hillary Clinton. And when I say bash Hillary Clinton, I really mean give her a good verbal beat down. The language he employed against her was nothing short of venomous. Rick Santorum had some seriously awful answers. For the entire debate, he seemed to be on the brink of angrily snapping at someone or something. At one point,  he flat-out yelled into the microphone . It appeared Howard Dean-esque and all very desperate. I’d be surprised if he is a candidate come January 2016. Bobby Jindal came into this debate with a clear game plan: Distinguish himself as a “government-cutting conservative” and portray the others in the debate as “tax and spend liberals.” In fact in a couple of instances, he insinuated that the Republican party was failing as a national party because they are too liberal on policy issues. The moderators were once again feckless and weak. At one point the candidates were asked to name a Democrat they respected and not one of the men on stage answered the question.  It was quite revealing that they couldn’t even name a Democrat they admired. What’s worse, the moderators didn’t even jump in and get them back on track. The phrase “government picking winner and losers” was repeated at least three times by Chris Christie and also from Rick Santorum. It’s an empty platitude, but it clearly must poll well with Republican voters, otherwise they wouldn’t have used it so liberally (pun intended).

What to Expect When You’re Expecting a GOP Presidential Debate

What to Expect When You’re Expecting a GOP Presidential Debate

Tonight, starting at 4 pm Seattle time, Republican presidential candidates will debate on the Fox Business Channel. (You can watch the debates streaming live on foxbusiness.com .) We’ll be live-tweeting all four hours on the Civic Skunkworks Twitter handle. The first debate is between Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Santorum. The main event starts at 6 pm, and there are only eight candidates this time: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, and, for some reason, Rand Paul. So! What should you expect? • The pack will turn on Rubio. The supposed frontrunner (once you ignore the two real frontrunners, Carson and Trump, who everyone for some reason just assumes will miraculously disappear at some point between now and February when the voting starts) opened up big ol’ can of Looking Presidential at the last debate, and it won him a decent little bump in the polls. Trump might take a shot at Rubio, and Bush might muster up the courage to try it again. Meanwhile, Rubio is going to try to look even more presidential tonight, which is a position that many candidates have tried and failed to adopt. It’s the classic debate conundrum: the better you do, the better people expect you to be. Rubio doesn’t always do well in high-pressure situations , so the chance of a slip-up is high. • Meanwhile, everyone is going to watch Bush for signs of life. He’s failed miserably in every single one of the debates so far. He hasn’t had a good moment since…actually, I can’t remember a time in the 2016 presidential cycle in which Bush had a good moment. He has to do something tonight, and he has to look competent while doing it. Otherwise, the media will be all over him as a failure tomorrow. Which brings me to my next point… • Everyone
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Daily Clips: November 10th, 2015

Daily Clips: November 10th, 2015

Thousands of workers who were shorted on overtime pay are headed to the Supreme Court:  Today, SCOTUS plans on hearing oral arguments “in a crucial case that could tighten the rules dictating how workers and consumers band together in the first place.” Labor groups and low-wage worker advocates are in support of the workers, “while the Chamber of Commerce and other major business lobbies have lined up behind [Tyson Foods].” I wonder which side is trying to advance justice and economic fairness. The GOP’s uniquely embarrassing vetting season: Michael Gerson is one of those conservative thinkers liberals should take seriously. While his solutions are often different than what I propose, at least he recognizes the problems (a step that evades many Republican talking heads). In his latest column, Gerson talks about the never-ending vetting process which has descended upon the GOP clowns. He wonders if Trump, specifically, cannot be undone by the normal probing, asking “How do you hold Trump to performance standards when part of his appeal as an outisder is a blustering, appalling ignorance of policy?” Democrats push for automatic voter registration: While Republicans try to make it as hard as possible to vote, Democrats are looking for ways to expand voter registration and by proxy, voting turnout. “With automatic voter registration, we can not only make our electoral system more modern and fair, but bring 51 million American citizens – most of whom are disproportionately poor, young and minority – permanently into the political process,” said senior advisor to iVote, Hari Sevugan. It frightens me that this message of inclusion would actually be opposed by one of our major political parties. But such is life in America. As this article points out, in 2012 only 53.6 of the voting age population cast ballots in America. That’s inexcusable. Atheists shouldn’t be president, according to Ted Cruz:  Here’s an interesting article which looks at the public perception of atheists, and the results are depressing (if you are a godless heathen, of course). Predictably, the US public have
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The More You Examine Rubio’s Tax Plan, the Worse It Looks

The More You Examine Rubio’s Tax Plan, the Worse It Looks

Last week , I said that Rubio’s tax plan would remove six trillion dollars from government revenue over a decade. Last night, Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine reported that it’s even worse than that. Chait is fast becoming the best observer on Rubio we have, which means he’s the one to watch as Rubio’s star continues to rise, in part because he can deliver devastating facts like this: All told, Rubio’s plan would reduce federal revenue by $11.8 trillion over the next decade. The entire Bush tax cuts cost about $3.4 trillion over a decade, making the Rubio tax cuts more than three times as costly. This is part of the reason why the media has been obsessing over Marco Rubio’s credit card bills over the last few days. Even people who haven’t done the deep dive into Rubio’s economic plans understand that there’s something missing. He claims to represent the future, but he’s promising both EITC benefits for the very poor and tremendous tax cuts for the very rich, in addition to boosting the military budget. Even a child could tell you that there’s no way to pay all those bills without making more money, somehow. So while it’s ridiculous to believe that one’s personal finance should indicate how one would run a financial system as complex as the US budget, this mysterious gap in Rubio’s budget leaves us looking for signs—any kind of sign—how he handles numbers in the real world. Because this tax plan is many things, but it does not represent, by any means, the real world.

Daily Clips: November 9th, 2015

Daily Clips: November 9th, 2015

The war against Exxon Mobil:  A truly awful piece from Robert Samuelson. A champion of the big-guy, Samuelson defends Exxon, saying that environmentalists are wasting their time going after the big oil company for misleading the public on climate change. How should we address this situation instead, you ask? Samuelson doesn’t bother to give us any alternatives: The larger problem is the inherent difficulty of doing something significant about global warming. Fossil fuels supply four-fifths of primary global energy. To stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, fossil fuel emissions need to go to about zero. How is that going to happen? He then goes onto say that environmental advocates who say that Exxon knew about the harmful effects of climate change “are essentially proposing that the company be punished for expressing its opinions.” How ridiculous. What is it with right-wingers and falling back on the whole “corporations are people” dogma? This isn’t an issue relating to freedom of expression. It’s an issue of lying systematically to the American people. They have every right to lie to us, but they also have every right to be held accountable. Rubio and his immigration retreat : The Washington Post’s editorial board has some harsh words for Senator Marco Rubio and his “craven flip-flop” when it comes to immigration polices. They ask “is he so politically pliable and ideologically biddable that he will say anything, and take any stance, to shield himself from the ugly nativism Donald Trump has tapped among Republican primary voters?” Tomorrow’s GOP debate moderators:  After the Republican presidential candidates moaned about the liberal-ness of the CNBC debate, expect Maria Bartiromo, Neil Cavuto, and Gerard Baker to lob softball questions for the entire night. Vox provides individual breakdowns of these moderators. Here’s a scary video for you:

Ted Cruz Shut Down Gun Responsibility Laws After Sandy Hook, New Super PAC Ad Brags

Ted Cruz Shut Down Gun Responsibility Laws After Sandy Hook, New Super PAC Ad Brags

One of Ted Cruz’s super PACs, the Courageous Conservatives PAC, just released a 60-second ad attacking Marco Rubio for accomplishing nothing besides his failed “gang of eight amnesty bill.” The ad continues, “Marco Rubio looks good on TV, but that’s about it.” This is a good attack ad, but that’s not the reason I bring it up. Of course the Cruz camp is attacking Rubio. Cruz is banking on the race coming down to an establishment candidate (that’s Rubio, even though his tax plan is insane ) and a Tea Party candidate. Cruz also expects Trump and Carson to burn out, leaving him in the prime attacker spot. None of this is really noteworthy. What is worth noting is this tiny five-second sentence in the ad: “After Sandy Hook, Ted Cruz stopped Obama’s push for new gun control laws.” This is some kind of bravado from the Cruz people. They’re promoting Cruz’s refutation of commonsense laws which were introduced after one of the most grotesque crimes in American history. They’re proud of his protestation of Obama’s attempts to stop a similar massacre of children. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut had even harsher words for the ad: The new Ted Cruz ad makes me want to throw up, and I’m pretty sure that’s a feeling shared by many who lived through the horror of Sandy Hook. If Ted Cruz wants to brandish his pro-gun credentials to Republican primary voters, that’s his right. But it’s sick that he thinks he’ll win votes by specifically pointing out that in the wake of 20 dead first graders, he was the face of the fight to ensure no action was taken to stop more deranged killers from walking into elementary schools with military-style assault weapons loaded with 30-round clips of ammunition. Showing off how callous he was in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting may win him some right wing votes that
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