Archive for October, 2009|Monthly archive page

Working-Class Urbanism

In Budget Politics, Economic Planning, Economics, Housing, Inequality, Liberalism, Living Wage, Mass Transit, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Public Works, Regulation, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Unions, Urbanism, Welfare State on October 30, 2009 at 5:14 pm

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Introduction:

Recently, there was a bit of a stir when geographer Aaron Renn posted an article on New Geography alleging that “progressive urbanism” was advocating for a model of urbanism that was melanin-deficient. Now, this study was flawed in many ways – the sampling excluded New York, Chicago and L.A as progressive urban models, it equated non-black population with white, which is a major mistake especially in the Southwest, it left out San Francisco, and so on.

However, while progressive urbanism can for the moment be cleared of the charge of being blind to issues of race, it is true that new urbanism as a movement has tended to emphasize the physical side of denser development, as opposed to some of the more human-scale issues – and class is one issue that comes to mind as an area that needs to be dealt with.

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After the Exchanges – Health Care Reform, Step 2

In Budget Politics, Health Care Reform, Inequality, Liberalism, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Social Security, Unions, Welfare State on October 29, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Introduction:

This last week has given us something of a denouement for the public option – we came just short of the “robust” public option set at Medicare rates plus 5% in the House, but we’ve got an opt-out negotiated rate public option in the Senate. Chances are, going forward, that the eventual legislation will end up with something in-between the House and Senate’s version.

While this is certainly a disappointment to those of us who favored “Medicare Part E,” it’s important to keep in the forefront of our minds, that the objective of health care reform is universal coverage and affordability, not the specific vehicle by which this happens. And a close examination of the House bill shows they way forward.

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Job Insurance – Part 10 (The Powerpoint)

In Economic Planning, Economics, Full Employment, History and Politics, New Deal, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Works, Social Democracy, Welfare State, WPA on October 27, 2009 at 7:58 pm


Introduction:

So before I even started the Job Insurance series, I wrote this post on presenting a plan for public employment.  And I still believe that it’s important for academics who are also activists to learn how to construct arguments that are streamlined and comprehensible to non-experts. so I thought I’d revisit my presentation and present an updated version for commentary.

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Coalition of Holdouts

In Budget Politics, California, Health Care Reform, History and Politics, Political Ideology, Political Parties, Politics on October 22, 2009 at 11:02 pm


Introduction:

While I have never been intellectually attracted to centrism, and while I’ve made my distaste for High Broderite bipartisanship-for-the-sake-of-bipartisanship very clear, I haven’t yet addressed one major element of what I call “process politics” that I think is pernicious – the cult of “reasonableness.”

The idea of “reasonableness” as it plays in politics is that the party of government (not necessarily the party “in” government, but the party that believes in government) has to behave in a reasonable manner, passing budgets on time, playing by the procedural rules, and make compromises to make things happen, even if it means making compromises before legislation is even introduced, so as to seem “reasonable.”

My problem with “reasonableness” stems from the fact that it stands in direct opposition to the way that politics actually works.

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Public Virtues – 6 (Rules-Making Authority)

In Economic Planning, Economics, Financial Crisis, History and Politics, New Deal, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Regulation, Social Democracy, Social Policy on October 20, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Introduction:

(For previous installments in this series, see here)

So far in the Public Virtues series, I’ve focused on the characteristics that make the public sector different from the private sector. However, I’ve yet to discuss the interplay between the two, the fundamental dependent on the private for the public. And it’s in this dependency that we can see one of the public sector’s greatest strengths.

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Job Insurance – Part 9 (What is NAIRU?)

In Economic Planning, Economics, Full Employment, History and Politics, Liberalism, New Deal, Political Ideology, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Works, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Taxes, Unions, Welfare State, WPA on October 14, 2009 at 5:56 am
No, the other one.

No, the other one.

Introduction:

(For previous parts in the series, see here)

In talking about job insurance, or indeed any policy that seeks to help the working class, there is always someone who will argue that any effort to reach a lower rate of unemployment will cause inflation to achieve Zimbabwean levels. The intellectual justification for this is NAIRU – a term invented by monetarist economists as part of their war against Keynesianism.

But what is NAIRU? Does it really exist? Is it a constant or does it change? And most importantly, is it a valid objection to attempting to lower the unemployment rate?
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Industrial Democracy for the 21st Century

In History and Politics, Politics of Policy, Public Policy, Regulation, Social Democracy, Unions on October 9, 2009 at 4:41 pm


Introduction:

Given the level of inequality in America today, it’s not surprising that the major political battles over the workplace are focusing on economic goods – jobs, wages, benefits, and working conditions.  And yet, even after health care, even after EFCA, even after economic recovery itself, there will still be a critical contest to be fought that goes far beyond the material conditions of working America.

And in that fight, we have more than sixty years of lost progress to make up.

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Public Virtues – Part 5 (Inherent Monopoly)

In Economic Planning, Economics, History and Politics, New Deal, Political Ideology, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Regulation, Social Democracy, WPA on October 3, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Introduction:

(For previous parts in the series, see here)

In the public imagination, we often understand our current stage of capitalism through a single corporation that exemplifies the age, an institution that- we think of  as having a great power because of the sheer size of its workforce, or its overwhelming share of the market, or the immensity of its net worth. In the turn of the century, it might have been Standard Oil or U.S Steel; in the middle of the century, it would have been G.M; today, it may well be Wal-Mart.

But as large as these institutions get, we often overlook an institution that looms even larger. Wal-Mart may have 1.1 milion employees, but the public sector has 22 million. Exxon Mobil may take in $442 billion a year in revenues, but the public sector takes in over four and a half trillion a year.

And in economic terms, size matters.

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