Quick Takes

* As a pragmatic progressive, I understand that – especially when it comes to the economy – there’s always a flip side to good news. Ready to flip?

We’re all loving the low gas prices these days, right? Except those who have retirement plans and are watching them wreck havoc on the stock market. But then there’s this:

A new note from Francisco Blanch at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, however, puts the oil move into a much bigger perspective, arguing that a sustained price plunge “will push back $3 trillion a year from oil producers to global consumers, setting the stage for one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history.”

That’s a good thing. But wait…not so fast.

Take China for example, where the strategist sees the oil plunge helping to fuel a boom in SUV sales…

And it’s not just emerging markets where the impact of cheaper gasoline is being seen.

After years of stagnation, vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. clearly ticked higher in 2015.

* Last Wednesday in Quick Takes, I noted the movement organizers were calling a “naturalization blitz” to get legal immigrants to pursue American citizenship. The next day, Eliza Collins wrote that Rep. Luis Gutierrez has gotten involved in the effort. Then I was reminded that the White House is also participating. They have a page on the web site dedicated to “New Americans,” including a “Citizenship Awareness Campaign.”

According to the most recent estimates, there are approximately 13.3 million lawful permanent residents (LPRs) living in the United States, and 8.8 million of them are eligible to apply for citizenship. This includes over 3 million refugees who have resettled here since 1975 from countries that span the globe…

On Citizenship Day, President Obama launched the “Stand Stronger” Citizenship Awareness Campaign, a project with nonprofit Civic Nation, to encourage eligible immigrants to take an important step in their American journey and commit to citizenship.

* At Republic 3.0, Victoria Finkle writes about the vastly differing visions for regulating Wall Street coming from the Democratic presidential candidates.

* Josiah Lee Auspitz writes that, for the GOP, the way they allocate delegates makes it more difficult for them to adapt.

* Finally, with the Democratic presidential race so close in Iowa, Steve Benen catches one of the small questions that could make a big difference…what happens to Martin O’Malley’s delegates?

When Iowa Democrats show up for their caucuses tonight, they’ll break up into groups based on which candidate they prefer. In precincts in which O’Malley’s support falls short of 15%, the former governor will be considered “non-viable,” at which point O’Malley’s supporters will be able to move to their second choice – either Sanders or Clinton.

As a practical matter, that may very well lead to plenty of situations in which O’Malley backers give one of the top two candidates a meaningful boost.

Let’s all gather back here tomorrow morning to talk about how it went, shall we?

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.