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July 13, 2011

THE MIDWEEK ROUNDUP

The top five posts from Progressive Fix

Will Cantor Blow Up the Economy? - Will Marshall

The stock market plunged over 150 points yesterday as Republicans hardened their stance in debt reduction talks with the White House. The sharp drop was a timely reminder that a political failure to raise the debt ceiling would be a body blow to America’s already weak economy.

The odds of that happening rose sharply this weekend, as House Speaker John Boehner broke off talks with President Obama because he couldn’t get Republicans to support a fiscal “grand bargain” that would include higher tax revenues. That puts Majority Leader Eric Cantor in charge of GOP negotiating strategy — and on the spot. Read more…

NEA vs. TFA - Laura Cunliffe

Simmering tensions between the nation’s largest teachers’ union and a highly acclaimed national service program boiled over this week. The National Education Association vowed to “publicly oppose Teach for America (TFA) contracts when they are used in Districts where there is no teacher shortage or when Districts use TFA agreements to reduce teacher costs, silence union voices, or as a vehicle to bust unions.”

Teach for America is a nonprofit organization that recruits graduates from leading universities to teach for two years in some of the nation’s most impoverished school districts. Study after study shows that TFA’s dedicated teachers are effective in lifting achievement levels among the poor and minority students they serve. Why would the NEA want to deprive our neediest kids of good teachers?  Read more…

Wingnut Watch: Cut, Cap, and Pledge - Ed Kilgore

As negotiations in Washington over a prospective debt limit increase stall and sputter, the process is not exactly getting an assist from Republican presidential candidates. With the exception of Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, the field is joining conservative activists demanding that congressional GOPers hold the line against any revenue increases as part of a solution in favor of huge domestic spending cuts. Romney hedged his bets by signing onto the notorious “cut, cap and balance” pledge to oppose any debt limit increase not associated with big immediate spending cuts, a permanent limitation of federal spending to a fixed (and much lower) percentage of GDP, and a balanced budget constitutional amendment with a supermajority requirement for tax increases. Using his pledge signature as cover, the former governor is refusing to comment on the specifics of negotiations. Read more…

The Price of Civility - Charles Lebovitz

Recently released polls have shown disappointing returns for Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, whose percentage of the vote has hovered around 3 percent since early May, and received no noticeable bump from his June 21st campaign announcement. It gets worse: Only 42 percent of Republicans actually know of Huntsman, 20 percent less than the average candidate. Huntsman’s poll number plateau lends credence to Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank’s view that Huntsman and his amicable approach were doomed on arrival.

In a “normal” presidential cycle, Huntsman should be polling much better. His ability to test the president in an area of strength, foreign policy, and position as the most moderate candidate should resonate with a larger niche of independent voters allowed to participate in early state primaries like New Hampshire. But campaigning on the moral high road in this Republican Party nomination contest may come with a hefty toll. Read more…

Michael Mandel Featured in the Baltimore Sun

The thoughts of PPI’s Chief Economic Strategist Michael Mandel were highlighted in Baltimore Sun Columnist Jay Hancock’s recent piece on research and development investment.

**Read the full article here and check out Mandel’s recent brief on the FDA and innovation.


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