By Bill Scher
November 2, 2012 - 1:28am ET
MORNING MESSAGE: Austerity Doesn't Work
OurFuture.org's Terrance Heath: "In Greece, Europe's austerity poster child, austerity has shrunk the economy and increased the national debt ... Austerity only increased inequality in Portugal. Now, after painful austerity measures that hit ordinary Portuguese and public sector workers hardest failed to reduce the deficit, Portuguese citizens are planning to rally against new tax increases ... All across the EU, austerity has driven joblessness to a record high ... Yet the austerians demand even more."
Jobs Report Today
Monthy jobs report to be released at 8:30 AM ET. NYT previews: "Of late, consumers have been feeling better. Home prices have bottomed out in many markets, and are picking up in many others. The ranks of the jobless have shrunken, and millions of workers are seeing their wages increase, though not by much ... But businesses are feeling worse. Executives are very concerned about the 'fiscal cliff,' the huge tax increases and spending cuts looming in January. Manufacturing and exports, two of the bright spots in the recovery, have weakened of late."
Republicans threatening more economic blackmail if Obama wins, argues NYT's Paul Krugman: "Vote for Mr. Romney, they say, because if he loses, Republicans will destroy the economy. O.K., they don’t quite put it that way. The argument is phrased in terms of 'partisan gridlock,' ... are we ready to become a country in which 'Nice country you got here. Shame if something were to happen to it' becomes a winning political argument?"
Progressives Prepare to Thwart Bad Bargain
Progressive group draw lines for post-election budget battle. Politico: "Labor unions and liberal interest groups are going all-out for President Barack Obama’s reelection — but they’re just as ready to turn that firepower back on him if he betrays them with a grand bargain ... The network will hold what they’re calling a national day of action Nov. 8 and follow up later in the month with lobbying events ... 'It is safe to say many groups are very concerned that a grand bargain will be foisted on the Congress that goes against what Democratic candidates promised on the campaign trail,' said Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future."
Corporate split over grand bargain. W. Post: "The latest salvo was fired Wednesday when a coalition of business trade associations and advocacy groups warned Congress against agreeing to a deal that leans on new tax revenue. The group, which includes the Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the National Association of Manufacturers, urged lawmakers to put deep cuts in federal spending at the center. This group, dubbed the Tax Relief Coalition, is pushing back against a rival campaign led by prominent chief executives who called on Congress late last month to include increased taxes, alongside spending cuts, in efforts to tame the national debt."
Sandy Puts Climate Crisis Back In Spotlight
More politicians making connections to climate change. W. Post: "Post-Sandy ... some politicians are stating the obvious. 'There’s been a series of extreme weather incidents,' said New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) ... New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) went even further on Thursday when he put his lips together and finally pulled climate change into the presidential race ... in his surprise endorsement of President Obama..."
Oil lobby says wind companies don't deserve tax credit. The Hill: "The conservative American Energy Alliance (AEA) unveiled the study Thursday as wind power companies — joined by allies including President Obama — are pushing Congress to renew credits that are scheduled to lapse at year’s end ... AEA commissioned a study by Louisiana State University economist David Dismukes that argues the 20-year-old production tax credit (PTC) provides 'training wheels' to an industry that doesn’t need them..."
Former GOP House rep slams party for rejecting climate science. The HIll: "The Republican Party is 'falling away from scientific opinion' on climate change, a former GOP lawmaker said Thursday. 'I believe that my party, the Republican Party, needs to do a much better job of making sure that we are examining the science,' [said] Mike Castle..."
FEMA cash reserve may not be enough to handle Sandy's devastation. Politico: "Hurricane aid could complicate what is already a jam-packed post election lame-duck session on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers are already confronting a one-two punch of tax increases and automatic spending cuts slated to take effect in 2013 that could shove the country back into a recession."
Sen. Rand Paul slams FEMA. CNN: "'I have always maintained that FEMA should exist on money that comes in as revenue, but not on borrowed money,' the fiscal conservative said ... Paul, a longtime critic of the agency, argued the U.S. should instead fund FEMA with the money it sends overseas in foreign aid. He also argued that local communities - as well as private groups such as the Salvation Army and the Red Cross - do a better job than federal agencies in the immediate aftermath of large-scale emergencies."
Federal energy regulators going after Wall St. speculators. NYT: "The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the government watchdog overseeing the oil, natural gas and electricity business, has lately taken aim at three major banks suspected of manipulating energy prices. After taking action against JPMorgan Chase and Deutsche Bank, the agency on Wednesday threatened to impose its largest fine ever against Barclays ... The banks sense that a larger regulatory battle is at stake. Unlike financial regulators, the energy commission can fine firms $1 million a day for every violation. The string of recent cases, banks fear, could lay the groundwork for years of costly litigation."
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