Daily Clips: March 21st, 2016

Daily Clips: March 21st, 2016

Tweet of the day: Given the stuff @GOP bigwigs are saying about @realDonaldTrump , they'd better succeed in stopping him, or face a really awkward fall. — David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) March 21, 2016 Centrist economic plans like Hillary Clinton’s may become a thing of the past:  Clinton’s economic plan has her “well-positioned to win both the primary and the general election, but her approach likely doesn’t represent the future policy course of the party.” US existing home sales tumble in warning sign for housing industry:  “The National Association of Realtors said on Monday existing home sales dropped 7.1 percent to an annual rate of 5.08 million units, the lowest level since November.” Illinois cuts off funding to its public universities: Ah, austerity. It always seems to hit those that actually need it. Since June of last year, Illinois has been struggling to agree to terms on a new budget deal. Consequently, “the state budget impasse, and the resultant lack of funding for all of Illinois institutions of higher education, could potentially cause damage to many other schools. For example, there are anecdotal reports that some university professors in Illinois are being approached by schools in other states, which are trying to lure them away.”

Daily Clips: March 18th, 2016

Daily Clips: March 18th, 2016

Governor blocks $2.85 minimum wage increase after giving staffers $73,405 raises:  Headlines like this demonstrate that trickle-down economics still has a grasp upon many important political figures. How else can you explain such idiocy? As you may remember, last month “Governor Bentley  signed a bill blocking Alabama cities from raising their minimum wages above the federal floor of $7.25 an hour.” Not only does such a preemption block the will of the people, it also blocks more money from going into his 46th ranked state economy . The grim reality of American politics:   The near-term future of politics and policy in America is a pretty grim one. Intimidated by the nihilist, nativist pressure from talk radio hosts and bloggers, Republican leaders in Congress are not all that likely to ignore their desires. That may mean continued stonewalling on a Supreme Court seat, leaving a 4-4 Court for a long time (though a Democratic Senate would likely do what it takes to confirm a Clinton nominee). A Trump loss—which he would surely blame on the enemy within—would not mean the demise of a Trump movement or the angry populism behind it, and the driving need by Republicans to recapture their party’s mojo in the midterm would probably have them fall back on the populist approach that worked in 2010 and 2014. So brace yourselves for a rocky road ahead, not just in 2016 but in 2017 and beyond. Tweet of the day: Excellent, from @NewYorker pic.twitter.com/lGCcUWsvYD — Joe Parkinson (@JoeWSJ) March 18, 2016

Reporters and Redditors Agree: Seattle’s Minimum Wage Increase Is Great for Business

Reporters and Redditors Agree: Seattle’s Minimum Wage Increase Is Great for Business

In the spring of last year, we here at Civic Skunkworks spent a lot of time debunking stories about raising the minimum wage. At times it seemed like every reporter left in America last year was publishing a scary piece about business closures . I’m not complaining—it’s fun to debunk those pieces! But it’s interesting to look around and see that except for a pair of very loud holdouts —the Abbott and Costello of trickle down economics, you might say—most of those complaints have fallen away. Today, Jed Graham at Investor’s Business Daily has published the latest story about minimum wage increases around the country. And Graham goes out of his way to point out that the doom and gloom that was predicted has not come to pass: in fact, the story is headlined “Has Minimum Wage Knifed Seattle Restaurant Jobs? New Data Say No.” Here’s the section on Seattle: Data through the end of 2015 released in February suggested that Seattle restaurants had trouble adapting as employment at area food and drinking places grew at the slowest pace since 2009. The newly revised data show that restaurant employment actually has accelerated since the wage hike, rising 5.4% from a year ago in January. The Seattle-area data cover the entire Seattle-Bellevue-Everett metro, of which Seattle is just one-fourth of the population. You really ought to go read the rest of the story , which travels around the country dismantling negative claims about the minimum wage. Honestly, I’m most happy about that last quoted sentence about the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett metro data, which clarifies a point that minimum-wage opponents often use to obfuscate the data. Such clear-headedness! It’s not just reporters who have gotten the message about the minimum wage: regular folks on the internet aren’t suffering any fools, either. Three days ago, the Redditors at r/Seattle debunked a post from someone who wanted Seattleites to acknowledge the (nonexistent) “negative trend” in business since the wage went up. The user,
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Daily Clips: March 17th, 2016

Daily Clips: March 17th, 2016

Are trade agreements good for Americans?  The New York Times poses this question in its “Room for Debate” segment with the economist Robert E. Scott and former US treasury official Jeffrey J. Schott—guess who argues for pro-trade? US job market tightening; manufacturing sector healing ‘The labor market is tight as a drum. If we continue to receive strong reports like this, then the Fed is going to have to put a June rate hike on the table,’ said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York. What if Trump had run as a Democrat? A scary thought, but an illuminating article. Planning to run as a Democrat, Trump would have avoided backing the “birther” movement, but could have made other inflammatory charges (for example, against Hillary Clinton) to get media attention. To build Democratic support, he could have staked out positions in favor of single-payer health care, more progressive taxes, and a massive infrastructure program, while denouncing trade agreements, the war in Iraq, and illegal immigration. With only a slight shift from his current stances, he could have presented himself as an economic populist with business know-how who gets along famously with unions and working people, and is both a ferocious nationalist and a skeptic about foreign wars. In short, he could have wrapped his protectionism and nativism in a package more appealing to the left. This paragraph gives us a glimpse into a possible shift we will see from Trump after he wraps up the Republican nomination. As with Hillary, we will see a sudden shift back to the center. It will be abrupt and many of us have no idea how he will try and appeal to independents. My guess? He’ll play to the left of Hillary on trade and on foreign policy (by that I mean less liberal interventionist), while also railing against the establishment class and elites. Tweet of the day: Click the link, it’s worth
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Wave Goodbye to Marco Rubio, the Failed Candidate of Outdated Thinking

Wave Goodbye to Marco Rubio, the Failed Candidate of Outdated Thinking

Conservative Ross Douthat’s column in the New York Times today is a post-mortem of Marco Rubio’s campaign. It concludes with these two paragraphs: At times, Rubio’s biography, his youth and his eloquence seemed to make him the natural candidate for a party in search of What Comes Next. And in certain ways he was victimized by a conservative electorate that fears the future, that wants any “new” synthesis to simply recreate the glories of a vanished American past. But he was also a victim of his own fateful look backward, his assumption that what worked for the last Republican president could be made to work again. It didn’t, it couldn’t, and it probably won’t be tried again: Whoever wins the nomination in 2016, George W. Bush has gone down to defeat. So he’s saying that Marco Rubio is the candidate of the past? Huh. That’s certainly original . What a unique thought ! Why has nobody else pointed this out ? Even though Douthat has finally come around to the obvious, it’s important to note that he still got it kind of wrong. The collapse of Rubio doesn’t just denote the end of Bushism. Rubio’s collapse—as well as Jeb Bush’s collapse, and Rick Perry’s collapse, and the impending collapse of John Kasich—signifies the end of the trickle-down narrative that has dominated conservative politics since the Reagan years. What we’re seeing in Trump is a candidate who has capitalized on voter exhaustion at trickle down economics. Republican voters believe income inequality is a huge problem, and they think Trump, a candidate who repeatedly says he’s not beholden to big money interests, is the one who can fix it. Douthat is correct to note that Rubio, with his slick persona and his stage-managed campaign, represents a very old conservative political concept that has been worn paper-thin. But he’s wrong about the reasons why. When it comes to the
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Daily Clips: March 16th, 2016

Daily Clips: March 16th, 2016

Obama chooses Merrick Garland for SCTOUS:  And so it begins. Today, Obama called the Republicans bluff and chose a “well-known moderate who has drawn bipartisan support over decades.” On top of this, he nominated a 63 year old Supreme Court nominee, which shows Obama is “offering Senate Republicans a compromise not only on ideology, but also on tenure.” To me, Garland seems to be shrewd political move by Obama. If I had to guess, he was not the president’s first choice. He’s a sacrificial lamb. A pawn in the political game. The Obama administration must be 95 percent certain the Republicans would not confirm this nomination, otherwise I highly doubt he’d have picked such a centrist. Nonetheless, I expect Obama to fight like him to get him confirmed. 10 things you need to know about judge Merrick Garland: Judge Garland was appointed to the DC Circuit in 1997 by President Bill Clinton. At age 63, Garland is the oldest person nominated for the Supreme Court since President Nixon appointed Justice Lewis Powell in 1971. Like President Obama, Garland is from Chicago and attended Harvard Law school where he graduated with high honors. Garland is a centrist. In 2003, he held that the federal judiciary lacks authority, “to assert habeas corpus jurisdiction at the behest of an alien held at a military base leased from another nation.” Effectively prohibiting Guantanamo detainees from presenting themselves in civilian court. (The Supreme Court later reversed this decision in Rasul v. Bush.) Judge Garland is relatively conservative towards criminal justice cases. According to SCOTUSBlog’s Thomas Goldstein, “Judge Garland rarely votes in favor of criminal defendants’ appeals of their convictions.” There have been only eight such cases in the 13 years Garland has spent as federal judge. Judge Garland is fairly strict on gun laws. In D.C. Garland formed a decision, which restricted gun ownership for those seeking handguns for self-defense. The Oklahoma
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Poll: Seattle Voters Overwhelmingly Favor Secure Scheduling

Poll: Seattle Voters Overwhelmingly Favor Secure Scheduling

Working Washington reports : A new poll of Seattle voters by EMC Research finds overwhelming 74% support for secure scheduling policies, matching the high level of public approval for the $15 minimum wage law reached during the height of that debate. Support is widespread across demographic groups, including 79% of those 18-49, 68% of older voters, and even 49% of self-identified Republicans. To be clear, that’s 74 percent of five hundred Seattle-area likely voters who heard both pro and con arguments on secure scheduling. Support is very strong among Democrats and independents. The policies that they approved would apply to “food service and retail employers with at least 250 employees,” and they included hypothetical requirements that employers… give their employees their schedules 2 weeks in advance; provide 11 hours of rest between a closing shift and an opening shift for each employee; offer additional hours to current part-time employees before hiring additional part-time or temporary workers; pay workers if they are called in and their shift is cancelled or reduced; and give workers up to 4 hours of pay for last-minute short-notice shift cancellations or reductions. If you’d like to learn more about why it’s so important, Civic Ventures founder Nick Hanauer explained the importance of secure scheduling in an editorial for the Seattle Times . Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold hosted the first committee hearing on secure scheduling last week . No law has been proposed yet, but Herbold and Lorena González will be fighting for secure scheduling in the Council for weeks to come. It’s good to know that the vast majority of Seattleites support their efforts.

As John Kasich Rises, the Republican Party Runs Out of Ideas for the Working Class

As John Kasich Rises, the Republican Party Runs Out of Ideas for the Working Class

Tonight, all eyes are going to be on John Kasich’s performance in the Ohio primary. With Marco Rubio’s campaign sputtering to an undignified halt, and with Republicans reluctant to embrace Ted Cruz, Kasich looks like the establishment’s last, best chance. Even Mitt Romney is campaigning for Kasich. Never mind the fact that Kasich, who has not won a single state thus far, has no clear path to the nomination ; Republicans are desperate for a palatable general-election candidate, and Kasich is their last hope (okay, he’s actually their next-to-last hope, but Republicans really, really don’t like Ted Cruz.) And so how is Kasich trying to represent the Republican Party’s future? By clinging to the policies of the Republican Party’s past, of course! Emily Atkins at ThinkProgress reported that at a rally in Youngstown, Kasich said Ohio communities couldn’t afford clean energy: The Ohio governor’s remarks came in response to a constituent who asked how he would “implement clean energy and green jobs” in Youngstown if elected president. The questioner noted that clean energy was important to fighting human-caused climate change, and that Kerry had recently travelled to Paris to negotiate an international deal to reduce emissions. “I think when [Secretary of State John Kerry] went to Paris, he should have gone there to get our allies together to fight ISIS instead,” Kasich said to applause. He added that clean energy would be too expensive to implement in the Mahoning Valley, where the manufacturing industry has suffered in recent years. Setting aside that strange attempt at tossing out some war-on-terror red meat, what Kasich is selling here is a false dichotomy: clean energy or good jobs. In fact, by tying Youngstown to the energy policies of the past, Kasich is doing damage to the community. (Nick Cassella wrote about this earlier today .) Demand for clean energy is high and  only getting higher ; investing in clean energy is the way to ensure that a community will
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Politician Loves The Free Market Until It Effects His Constituents

Politician Loves The Free Market Until It Effects His Constituents

Like many libertarians before him, Rand Paul is obsessed with the concept of liberty. When Paul Constant and I went to hear him  speak at Town Hall last year , we heard the then-presidential candidate refer to his supporters multiple times as “lovers of liberty.” (Note: if he was being honest, he’d admit that they were actually lovers of  negative liberty  which is concerned with freedom from interference, but that’s not quite as catchy or alliterative). Therefore, it comes as no surprise that a darling of non-interference like Rand Paul also worships The Free Market. A man who believes that there is no such thing as a free lunch unironically believes in an economic theory which allows one to just lie back and let an invisible hand sort out everything. From solving health care to setting interest rates , Paul has ceaselessly called upon the market to heal America’s societal ills. It is not only a great remedy to all of societies problems, it is the only one. All hail. A perfect example of Paul’s lazy reliance on the market came when Greta Van Susteren asked him  “What happens if Republicans are successful in repealing Obamacare?” Paul smugly replied, “We could try freedom for a while.” Brilliant. I guess promulgating a detailed position like that is all it takes to be identified as a “ rising star ” in the modern Republican Party. Why didn’t he do well in the presidential primary again? Snark aside, you’d expect that a disciple of the free market would be utterly devoted to its forces. Predictably, however, that is not the case for Dr. Rand. Check out his recent rant about Kentucky’s dying coal industry. Tonight @hillaryclinton said out loud what the national democrat party has been trying to do quietly for the past 8 years #DemTownHall — Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 14, 2016 I won't let her do it. I am running to fight for Kentucky and to stop the national democrats from killing more coal jobs. — Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 14, 2016 Where to begin? Let’s start with
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Daily Clips: March 15th, 2016

Daily Clips: March 15th, 2016

David Brooks talks about how youth today are “awash in moral judgment” : His columns seem to get worse by the week. This time, Brooks directs his moral repulsion towards young people and waxes lyrical about the good ol’ days (a common theme in his writing). Back when he was young “universal moral principles” supposedly ruled the land, but then came “The Closing of The American Mind” where “subjective personal values” usurped the natural order. Now, with the “omnipresence of social media” my generation has created a whole new “moral life..not built on the continuum of right and wrong; it’s built on the continuum of inclusion and exclusion.” If only we could revert back to Brooks’ days where the continuum of right and wrong prevailed; where blacks couldn’t go to the same school as white people, LGBT weren’t allowed to marry their lovers, and women knew their place in the kitchen! Americans have no idea marijuana is in the same legal category as heroin and LSD : Please, tell me again how weed is “practically legal.” Christian barber refuses to cut transgender Army veteran’s hair, citing religious views : I wonder where this lands on Brooks’ continuum of right and wrong? Tweet of the day: Seeing this, seems less likely Bernie's favorables wld collapse in general. Taxes, socialism, etc already in debate. pic.twitter.com/X5ZZkUNQO2 — Mike Konczal (@rortybomb) March 15, 2016

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