Hillary hints at support for $12 minimum wage – July 30, 2015, 03:55 pm


Hillary Clinton hinted Thursday that she’s supportive of legislation hiking the minimum wage to $12.

Clinton, the front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary, has backed the concept of a wage hike on the campaign trail without specifying a figure — a reticence that’s been criticized by her closest rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who’s pushing for a $15 rate.

But on Thursday, after meeting with leaders of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Clinton got as close as she’s come to endorsing a specific level, hinting that a $12 minimum wage proposal sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) might offer a viable path forward.

“Patty Murray is one of the most effective legislators in the Senate bar none, and whatever she advocates I pay a lot of attention to because she knows how to get it through the Congress,” Clinton told reporters. “Let’s not just do it for the sake of having a higher number out there, but let’s actually get behind a proposal that has a chance of succeeding. And I have seen Patty over the years be able to do just that.”

Earlier in the press conference, Clinton advocated an unspecified increase in the federal minimum wage — which has stood at $7.25 per hour since 2009 — and then allowing states and local governments to make adjustments as they see fit based on regional cost-of-living variations.

Article continues:

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/249842-hillary-hints-at-support-for-12-minimum-wage

Paul Ryan Is the Odds-On Favorite to Win the Republican Nomination in 2016 – —By Kevin Drum| Wed Feb. 5, 2014 10:04 PM GMT


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There’s been a lot of blathering about who the front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination is, and so far I’ve resisted taking part. But I guess I’m kind of curious: Is there much of a case to be made for anyone other than Paul Ryan?

On the substantive side, Ryan sure seems like he’s setting himself up for a run. There’s his steady series of “unheralded” anti-poverty outreach trips that always manage to be just heralded enough to get sympathetic press coverage. He brokered a budget deal with Patty Murray that was businesslike and low-drama but didn’t alienate the tea party crowd too badly. Today, in a hearing about the CBO’s report on Obamacare, he acknowledged that the report didn’t say that employers would be cutting jobs—points for intellectual honesty!—while also calling Obamacare a “poverty trap”—points for demagoguery! This is all stuff that seems very delicately calculated to stay in the good graces of the tea party base while building up plenty of policy substance cred that will keep him attractive to moderate voters.

On the flip side, who are his big competitors? Chris Christie is toast. Marco Rubio is inexperienced to begin with, and then muffed his chance for statesmanlike glory when he staked his reputation on immigration reform and came up empty. Jeb Bush can’t even get his mother’s endorsement. Scott Walker is getting buzz, but he strikes me as having too much baggage. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are novelty candidates, not to be taken seriously. And although I used to think Bobby Jindal might have a chance, he’s had a rough past couple of years.

Maybe I’m dismissing all these guys a little too glibly. Walker and Bush are certainly serious possibilities. And I admit that Ryan doesn’t always give off a vibe that says he’s running for president. And of course, we’re still a couple of years away from 2016, anything can happen, blah blah blah.

Still, ol’ blue eyes sure looks like the favorite to me right now. Anyone want to make a case for one of the others?

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/02/paul-ryan-odds-favorite-win-republican-nomination-2016

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost $1.5 trillion, about twice the cost of the Vietnam War when adjusted for inflation. Those funds came entirely from borrowing, contributing nearly 20 percent to the national debt accrued between 2001 and 2012. And that’s just the “supplemental” military spending passed by Congress for the wars—the regular Pentagon budget also grew nearly 45 percent between 2001 and 2010. –


 Until Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rode to the rescue this week, Pentagon brass and their allies had been issuing dire warnings about the nation’s military readiness: The armed services were being decimated, they said, by sequestration—the automatic budget cuts that were set to trim $1 trillion from the Pentagon budget over the next decade. “It’s one thing for the Pentagon to go on a diet. It’s another for the Pentagon to wear a straitjacket while dieting,” grumbled Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.). The message got through: The House overwhelmingly approved the Ryan-Murray plan just two days after it was introduced.

But now, the Pentagon has once more gotten a reprieve from the budget ax: Under Murray and Ryan’s congressional budget deal, the Pentagon will get an additional $32 billion, or 4.4 percent, in 2014, leaving its base budget at a higher level than in 2005 and 2006. (The Department of Defense expects its total 2014 budget, including supplemental war funding, to be more than $600 billion.)

Before the budget deal, some critics of defense spending had been ready to accept sequestration as the blunt, imperfect tool that might force the military to shed some of the bulk it acquired while fighting two of the longest and most expensive wars in our history. Even with the sequester in place, the Pentagon’s base budget was set to remain well above pre-9/11 levels for the next decade, and the military would have taken a far smaller haircut than it did after Vietnam and the Cold War wound down.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost $1.5 trillion, about twice the cost of the Vietnam War when adjusted for inflation. Those funds came entirely from borrowing, contributing nearly 20 percent to the national debt accrued between 2001 and 2012. And that’s just the “supplemental” military spending passed by Congress for the wars—the regular Pentagon budget also grew nearly 45 percent between 2001 and 2010.

Article continues:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/12/pentagon-budget-deal-charts-cuts

Counterpoint: Maybe Republicans aren’t winning on spending, after all Posted by Brad Plumer on December 12, 2013 at 4:51 pm


Yesterday, I suggested that Republicans have been winning the debate over discretionary spending in Congress.* The reason? Overall spending on discretionary programs next year is set to be lower than even Paul Ryan envisioned in his initial budget back in 2011.

But Loren Adler of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget argues that this is a bit simplistic. You can’t just look at overall spending levels — you also have to look at the mix of spending. Ryan’s original budget wanted to increase defense spending while dramatically cutting everything else, from health to transportation to housing to environmental programs.

And that’s not quite where we’re we’ve ended up. The latest budget deal struck between Ryan and Patty Murray would have far less spending on defense and far more spending on domestic programs than Ryan and the House GOP originally proposed:

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Democrats have had to accept far less discretionary spending than either President Obama’s budget or Patty Murray’s original budget proposed. But they’ve been able to make sure that a sizable chunk of the reductions have come from the defense side instead of the domestic side.

So it depends how you look at it. Discretionary spending is still set to be 14 percent below 2010 levels next year, after adjusting for inflation. As a share of the economy, federal spending on these programs is at historic lows. That’s a win for those in favor of austerity. And it’s a loss for those who think that cutting federal spending right now will drag down the economy and hurt growth, especially when unemployment is still high.

But it’s not quite true to say that Paul Ryan has achieved total victory here — at least if you look at the type of spending that has survived.

Article continues:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/12/12/counterpoint-maybe-republicans-arent-winning-on-spending-after-all/