Daily Clips: March 9th, 2016

Daily Clips: March 9th, 2016

Bernie shocks the nation in Michigan:  I’ll let FiveThirtyEight do the talking. Both the FiveThirtyEight polls-plus and polls-only forecast gave Clinton a greater than 99 percent chance of winning. That’s because polling averages for primaries, while inexact, are usually not 25 percentage points off. Indeed, my colleague Nate Silver went back and found that only one primary, the 1984 Democratic primary in New Hampshire, was even on the same scale as this upset. Even if you support Hillary Clinton, I hope all Democrats (and Americans) take a moment to stand in awe of what Bernie Sanders just did last night. It was monumental. And yes, Hillary absolutely trounced him in Mississippi and won the overall delegate count on the night. There’s no denying she also had a good night. But no one can dismiss the historic nature of Bernie’s upset last night. Thomas Friedman rails on the modern GOP:  Friedman’s anger is palpable in this column. He, unlike his colleague David Brooks, can see that one of America’s great parties has completely rotted to the core. What has this decline brought us? The GOP now thinks “climate change is a hoax; abortion, even in the case of rape or incest, is impermissible; even common-sense gun laws must be opposed, no matter how many kids get murdered; taxes must always be cut and safety nets shrunk, no matter what the economic context; Obamacare must be destroyed, even though it was based on a Republican idea; and Iraq was a success even though it was a mess.” Painkillers now kill more Americans than any illegal drug.  Despicable. 19,000 Americans died from overdoses linked to legal opioid painkillers. Now tell me again why marijuana should be illegal. Universities are becoming billion-dollar hedge funds with schools attached:   Though the exact figure is hard to determine, experts I consulted estimate that over $100 billion of educational endowment money nation-wide is invested in hedge funds, costing them approximately $2.5 billion in fees in 2015 alone. The problems with hedge funds managing college endowments are manifold, going well beyond
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Louis CK’s Call For ‘Balance’ Is A Position of Privilege and Fantasy

Louis CK’s Call For ‘Balance’ Is A Position of Privilege and Fantasy

As you probably have heard, over the weekend, comedian Louis CK called Donald Trump “Hitler.” Literally, he wrote in an email (which was to promote his new show, but it was the addendum that’s gotten all the attention), “the guy is Hitler.” Immediately, the email was dubbed “ epic ” and “ compassionate ” and “ scathing ” and myriad other things. What it was not, however, was a.) revolutionary or b.) inclusive. In fact, I’d argue that CK’s email—which few people seem to have read past the “Hitler” part—is actively harmful to a whole lot of people in this country. CK had a lot of not-nice things to say about Trump—calling him “an insane bigot” and some other things that probably sound a lot like what you’ve said about Trump with your friends—but none of them were actually particularly new or novel. People have been comparing Trump to Hitler for months. Seriously, it’s a very populated Google search. Not exactly leading the conversation, then. Beyond the lack of novelty in CK’s critique, though, is a much more dangerous problem: That he seems to believe the right is a lot less harmful than it actually is. From the email: I’m not advocating for Hillary or Bernie. I like them both but frankly I wish the next president was a conservative only because we had Obama for eight years and we need balance. And not because I particularly enjoy the conservative agenda. I just think the government should reflect the people. And we are about 40 percent conservative and 40 percent liberal. When I was growing up and when I was a younger man, liberals and conservatives were friends with differences. They weren’t enemies. And it always made sense that everyone gets a president they like for a while and then hates the president for a
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Daily Clips: March 8th, 2016

Daily Clips: March 8th, 2016

David Brooks asks his fellow Republicans to come to their senses:  Call me crazy, but if “my” party’s best two options were politicians like Trump and Cruz, I’d ditch my party fast. Blatant racism and bigotry is usually where I draw the line. But Brooks cannot do that. It’s so weird to see in real time. He simply cannot get himself to realize that his party has left him. It’s like watching someone trudge through a terrible relationship where the other person has moved on, but the other person still thinks everything is fine. In meme form, this: Anyways, like all other “middle-of-the-road conservatives,” Brooks is hoping for a brokered convention this summer. He admits that this “would be bedlam for a few days, but a broadly acceptable new option might emerge.” So much for democracy, huh?!  What’s the solution to political polarization in the US? Fine, the 1860s and the 1960s were bad. But the fact that the nation hasn’t fallen into civil war and our leaders haven’t been gunned down is a pathetically low bar for a first-world country with the greatest military and strongest economy on Earth. Even during the tumult of the 1960s, Congress created Medicare and Medicaid, enacted landmark civil-rights legislation, and passed a sweeping education bill that still serves as the foundation for federal funding of public schools today. Ever since Obama’s first two years in office, Congress hasn’t done anything except shut down the government and come close to tanking the economy with a near-default on the nation’s debt. Immigration reform stalled. Gun reform went nowhere. Congress can’t even agree to declare war on ISIS, and now that Antonin Scalia has died, it might leave the Supreme Court short-handed for more than a year. Tolerant white working-class voters, turned off by Trump, may side with Democrats: Democrats are going after that more tolerant sector with a progressive populism initially and charismatically championed by Bernie Sanders but increasingly advocated by Hillary Clinton as well. Tweet of
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How Does Washington State Rank On Poverty?

How Does Washington State Rank On Poverty?

The Center for American Progress released a report last month which ranks all fifty states based on indicators dealing with poverty and economic opportunity. These indicators include measures like poverty rates, the gender wage gap, and the percent of households dealing with hunger and food security. According to the report , “these indicators help us better understand the areas in which the situation is improving for America’s struggling families – and those in which Washington must do more work to boost families’ well-being.” See for yourself how Washington stacks up in regards to poverty and inequality: Those numbers are quite middling. To put Washington’s poverty rate in perspective, in 2014, the official poverty rate in the US was 14.8 percent (New Hampshire is ranked first with 9.2 percent of people living below the poverty line). So we’re just 1.6 percent below the national average – hardly a number which should satisfy any citizen or politician in this state. Perhaps the most disturbing ranking in this report is Washington’s 42nd placing when it comes to affordable housing. The Evergreen state had “54 apartments or other units that were affordable and available for every 100 renter households with very low incomes in 2014.” To clarify, very low income households are defined in this study as “those with incomes at or below half of median income in the metropolitan or other area where they live.” Poverty and affordable housing are issues which must become higher priorities in this state. That’s why it is good to see that Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine have declared a State of Emergency in response to the homeless crisis . Democratic members of the state legislature have also tried to solve this issue. Last month, Senate Democrats announced the “Bring Washington Home Act” which would “ spend nearly $300 million on services and house for homeless people in Washington .” While this bill may not have been perfect, the response from Republican leaders in our state
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The Conversation About Secure Scheduling Is Heating Up

The Conversation About Secure Scheduling Is Heating Up

Over the weekend, the Seattle Times published an editorial by Steve Gordon, the CEO of a trucking company, that responded to a Seattle Times editorial by Civic Ventures founder Nick Hanauer about secure scheduling. Hanauer argued for a scheduling Golden Rule—you should schedule your employees as you would have them schedule you. Gordon argues that life is unpredictable, and employers can’t be expected to know exactly what kind of coverage they need. Weirdly, though, the two examples that Gordon uses as an example of why employers would need to call in their employees at odd hours—customers needing coffee at 5 am and additional packages needing delivery in December—are incredibly predictable situations. No matter how terrible the economy might be at any given moment, people will always need coffee in the morning and people always will mail packages at Christmas time. An employer who can’t predict those two demands is an employer who might need some help running their business. It’s important to note that no secure scheduling law has been announced in Seattle yet; Seattle City Council members Lorena González and Lisa Herbold are looking at secure scheduling demands and haven’t come to any conclusions about legislation just yet. In fact, Herbold’s committee is hosting a work session with various  labor experts  tomorrow morning at 9:30 am . It’s safe to assume that any eventual secure scheduling law would allow for solutions to workers calling in sick, or a surprise increase in customer demand, or any of the other examples that Gordon and opponents are suggesting. In the meantime, as lawmakers examine the issue, the latest episode of the Seattle Channel show City Inside/Out takes a look at secure scheduling, interviewing civic leaders, including Hanauer, on the issue. It’s well worth your time:

Daily Clips: March 7th, 2016

Daily Clips: March 7th, 2016

The Democratic debate on Sunday was an orgy of protectionist rhetoric: So says Daniel Drezner, who pointed out that Sanders is “campaigning on Two Big Lies about the global political economy.” Let’s examine them. 1. Sanders’ first lie “is that he thinks trade protectionism will trigger a massive inflow of manufacturing jobs, n most of those jobs have disappeared from the face of the Earth .” 2. Sanders’ second lie “is that he pretends that there would be no foreign policy consequences from a US shift back to the days of Smoot-Hawley.” By this he means, how can Sanders simultaneously erect high trade barriers and persuade the rest of the world to cooperate on tackling climate change? These are extremely fair critiques of Sanders’ economic positions. Both Donald Trump and Mitt Romney are talking economic nonsense:  Paul Krugman doesn’t mince his words in this column. He takes a critical look at the economic policy disagreements between Mitt Romney and Donald Trump. If you remember from last week’s speech, Mitt warned the nation that America would “sink into prolonged recession” if Trump became POTUS. Krugman finds this a hysterical declaration, 1) because Mitt Romney was “saying almost exactly the same thing Mr Trump is saying now” when he was running for POTUS and 2) Romney loved the endorsement of Trump four years ago. The NRA is not doing Bernie Sanders any favors:  Ugh, that’s not an endorsement you want. Sen. Sanders was spot-on in his comments about gun manufacturer liability/PLCAA https://t.co/nDjEerjkgB #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/jEScbMDFt4 — NRA (@NRA) March 7, 2016

Hillary & Bernie Agree: It’s Time to Give Washington Workers a Raise & Paid Sick Leave

Hillary & Bernie Agree: It’s Time to Give Washington Workers a Raise & Paid Sick Leave

Raise Up Washington had a very good day. The statewide initiative (I-1433), which will be on the ballot in 2016, is composed of two parts: increasing the minimum wage and implementing paid sick leave for all Washingtonian workers. The wage increase is phased-in over four years, beginning at $11 (2017), $11.50 (2018), $12 (2019), and $13.50 (2020). The measure also allows workers to earn 1 hour paid sick leave for every forty hours worked, so workers can take care of themselves and their family when sick without fear of being fired or losing a day’s wage. And today, this groundbreaking initiative received the endorsements of both Democratic presidential candidates via Twitter. See for yourself! We have to do more to raise wages & support paid leave for hardworking families. I stand with @Raise_Up_WA in their work to do just that. -H — Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 4, 2016 We must raise the minimum wage to a living wage. Congrats to @Raise_Up_WA for taking the first step to a $15/hr min. wage and paid leave. — Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 4, 2016 Now that’s what you call getting earned media! Sadly, Donald Trump hasn’t tweeted his support yet. Until then, let me take this time to thank Bernie and Hillary for leading on this pressing issue.

Their Job Losses Are Hypothetical; Our Minimum Wage Gains Are Real

Their Job Losses Are Hypothetical; Our Minimum Wage Gains Are Real

I can’t actually bring myself to read all the way through Tim Worstall’s latest word jumble at Forbes, because I already have a slight headache, and Jesus, folks, it’s Friday afternoon, so gimme a break. But I would like to comment briefly on his disclaimer at the top: Before we go any further, as with other minimum wage rises that have been discussed here, no, I am not claiming that the rise is about to destroy the economy of that fair state, nor that all that will be left is a howling wasteland as the unemployed desperately search for scraps. I also agree entirely that the macroeconomic issues of what happens to the whole national economy are going to have far more to do with the employment and unemployment rates in Oregon than this change to the minimum wage will bring about. … The claim is this and only this: That a higher minimum wage will lead to fewer jobs than the absence of that higher minimum wage would have led to. Good on Tim for being up front about what he is claiming; not all trickle-downers are so forthright. But let’s be clear about what the core neoclassical claim is: it’s not that raising the minimum wage will destroy existing jobs, but rather that it will lead to fewer jobs in the future than there otherwise might have been. In other words, it is a claim that, no matter the empirical evidence, has the inherent advantage of being impossible to ever disprove! How convenient. Of course, the neoclassical models back Tim up. Run the models, and they’ll always project at least some theoretical job losses (in the future!) associated with minimum wage hikes large and small — despite the fact that the actual data from hundreds of local, state, and federal minimum wage hikes over
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Donald Trump Is Not a Problem. Donald Trump Is a Symptom of a Problem.

Donald Trump Is Not a Problem. Donald Trump Is a Symptom of a Problem.

This was always going to happen. America was always hurtling toward a debate in which the Republican frontrunner bragged about the size of his own genitals in front of an audience of millions. We were destined to watch three contenders spend nearly two full hours accusing the frontrunner of every dirty trick under the sun—scams, lies, flip-flops, foul language, breaks with the party line—and then we were of course going to see those same three contenders, in the last ten minutes of the debate, pledge to support that same frontrunner unconditionally in the general election. In retrospect, it’s as obvious as winter turning to spring. It just had to happen. At the time, nobody could have predicted that the election of the first African-American president, a Democrat, to the presidency would result in a shameless celebrity seizing the Republican Party’s nomination in 2016. But that’s what happened, and now that it’s happened, it’s beyond obvious. The Republican Party over the last eight years has fallen prey to institutional racism. A small but vocal subsection of the party, the ideological heirs to the Dixiecrats who turned Republican, capitalized on conservative unrest after Obama’s first election to seize the discourse. They have since consumed the party, infecting every level of it—from the language Republican elected officials use to the laws they pass. Racism is a tool through which the powerful suppress those with less power. Though racism belongs to no class in particular, it benefits those at the top—in other words, the Donald Trumps of the world. When a large number of Americans are obsessed with taking rights away from other Americans, they don’t worry about protecting or growing their own rights. If the people who vote you into office are concerned about making sure that minorities don’t get any benefits, they
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Daily Clips: March 4th, 2016

Daily Clips: March 4th, 2016

A GREAT US JOBS REPORT:  What wonderful news to wake up to. The government reported on Friday that employers added 242,000 workers in February, a hefty increase that highlighted the labor market’s steady gains at a time when anxiety about the economy was registering on Wall Street and at campaign rallies around the country. This is really big news. These two graphics (provided by those liberals over at NYT) illustrate the steady progress of our economy post-2008. It was not all good news, however. Unfortunately, “wages fell by 0.1 percent in February, a disappointing showing after the 0.5 percent increase in January, resulting in a 2.2 percent bump in the yearly rise.” Expect the Democratic nominee to talk non-stop about the need for higher wages. Just when you thought the GOP race had hit rock bottom:   22 out of my 25 focus group members said tonight’s #GOPDebate will hurt Republicans in the general election. This has to stop. Seriously. — Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) March 4, 2016 Where the f*** were you six months ago, Frank?! And he wasn’t alone. Where was Mitt? Or Rubio? Or McCain? Tweet of the day: We have to do more to raise wages & support paid leave for hardworking families. I stand with @Raise_Up_WA in their work to do just that. -H — Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 4, 2016 This morning, Hillary took to Twitter and voiced her support for Initiative 1433 , which would increase the state’s minimum wage to $13.50 (by 2020) and ensure paid sick leave for all Washington employees.

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