Monday, November 3, 2014
► John Oliver on State Legislatures and ALEC — “Why all this attention on the national level, where almost nothing is happening, when down at the local level, everything is happening? Tonight we’re going to talk about the elections that actually matter on Tuesday, the ones for State Legislatures.” Set aside 17 minutes to watch this at some point today. And in the end, if you watch closely, you’ll get to see John call the race — with 0% of precincts reporting — for State Representative Position 1 in Washington’s 39th Legislative District.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Year two of ACA brings more insurance plans for Washington residents — In Washington state, a little more than 1 million people enrolled in health coverage last year, including nearly 60,000 in Yakima County. For year two, things are looking a little different. Open enrollment this year begins Nov. 15 instead of Oct. 1 as in 2013. When people visit WAHealthplanfinder.org, they’ll find nearly twice as many options for insurance plans offered by more carriers than were available in the inaugural year: 82 Qualified Health Plans from 10 insurance carriers were approved this year, compared to 46 plans from eight carriers last year, according to the Health Benefits Exchange.
► In the Seattle Times — We can do more to support Washington biotechnology (by H. Stewart Parker) — Washington’s biotech industry has contributed richly to the region but needs support from the state’s lawmakers and its citizens.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Fun With Punditry!™ Read this op-ed by a biotechnology executive/consultant and substitute “tax breaks” where it says “support.” Then count how many times the author mentions paying for the public education and transportation systems that support the biotechnology industry and its employees. Fun!
► At today’s Spokesman-Review — Low voter turnout expected in Washington despite high stakes — Control of the U.S. Senate may be the chief concern of national political experts Tuesday, but Washington voters won’t play any part in that decision. Because of that, many may skip voting entirely.
► At PubliCola — Microsoft makes its Republican allegiance clear — Microsoft, typically an even-handed contributor to Democrats and Republicans at the state level, has contributed at least $50,000 more to the GOP effort in this year’s state legislative elections than to the Democrats — roughly $80,000 to $47,000 — according to PDC records.
► From McClatchy — Washington would lose clout in GOP-led Senate — Both of the state’s Democratic senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, would lose committee chairmanships if the GOP wins a majority of the 100 Senate seats.
► From Bloomberg — Weak wages stir voter ire at Obama amid Congressional deadlock — The U.S. economy has posted its strongest six months of growth in more than a decade, news that usually would be a boon to the party in power heading into congressional elections. Yet President Barack Obama and Democrats haven’t been able to take credit for the gains. On Election Day, they’re at risk of losing control of the Senate, though it is the Republicans who have blocked measures aimed at strengthening growth. That’s because Americans say they don’t feel the progress in their daily lives and blame both parties for the political deadlock in Washington. The U.S. government’s failure to address the economy’s main weakness — stagnant middle-class earnings — damages Democrats the most.
► In the Washington Post — Millennial turnout is crucial. Too bad pols have no idea what young people care about. — Rock the Vote, the turnout organization geared toward voters ages 18 to 24, thinks it knows what they want. In its intended-to-be-viral video released this month millennial icons such as Lil Jon, Lena Dunham, Fred Armisen explain that they’re going to vote because of marijuana legalization, reproductive rights and climate change — issues that, they think, will drive young people to the polls on Tuesday. They aren’t alone: The press, political parties and advocacy groups parrot the same messages to new voters. There’s just one problem: Young voters, who tend to stay home during midterms, care most about the issue that all other Americans care about: employment, and how to secure a decent income in a reawakening economy.
► In the NY Times — Bracing for a shift in Congress, Obama is setting a new agenda — Whipsawed by events and facing another midterm electoral defeat, President Obama has directed his team to forge a policy agenda to regain momentum for his final two years in office even as some advisers urge that he rethink the way he governs. The three areas most by White House officials as having potential for legislation are trade, corporate taxes and infrastructure. Democrats like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have resisted giving Obama trade negotiating authority, so a Republican Senate may be better for the president on this issue.
► In today’s NY Times — Business vs. economics (by Paul Krugman) — Business leaders often give remarkably bad economic advice, especially in troubled times. Why? The answer is that a country is not a company… Think of what happens when a successful businessperson looks at a troubled economy and tries to apply the lessons of business experience. He or (rarely) she sees the troubled economy as something like a troubled company, which needs to cut costs and become competitive. To create jobs, the businessperson thinks, wages must come down, expenses must be reduced; in general, belts must be tightened. And surely gimmicks like deficit spending or printing more money can’t solve what must be a fundamental problem. In reality, however, cutting wages and spending in a depressed economy just aggravates the real problem, which is inadequate demand. Deficit spending and aggressive money-printing, on the other hand, can help a lot.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.