Archive for the ‘Liberalism’ Category

X-Posted From Lawyers, Guns, and Money: Why Poverty Still Matters

In Economics, Globalization, Inequality, Liberalism, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy on October 27, 2013 at 4:43 pm

(So…it’s been a while since this blog has been updated. Largely, this is because I’ve been very busy finishing up my dissertation, which devours free time like a ravenous beast. However, as of about a week ago, I’ve defended and am quite done with all that. So I’m going to begin policy-blogging again; however, my main venue is probably going to shift over to Lawyers, Guns, and Money for a number of reasons. However, I will still be cross-posting back to this blog to keep all of my material available in one place.

Here’s the first policy piece I’ve done for them. Enjoy!)

While I normally enjoy or at least tolerate the Washington Post’s Wonkblog on the grounds that at least they have more substantive policy discussions going on than the rest of the Post, it does seem lately that Dylan Matthews’ presence there is intended to fulfill some quota of center-right pseudo-contrarianism that’s hard-coded into the Post’s DNA. A recent provocation, this time on inequality, is a more quantitative gloss on why American poverty doesn’t matter:

What this is telling us is that in India and Brazil, the poorest people are among the poorest people in the entire world, whereas the richest people are either middle-class, globally speaking, as is the case in India, or are for-real rich, as is the case in Brazil. But if you’re in Russia and especially if you’re in the United States, the mere fact that you live there means that you are not (with some exceptions) poor in the global sense. The bottom fifth of Americans are still well above the middle of the world income distribution.

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A Marshall Plan for Greece Makes Sense for Germany

In Budget Politics, Democratic Governance, Economic Planning, Economics, European Politics, Financial Crisis, Full Employment, Globalization, Industrial Policy, Inequality, Liberalism, Political Ideology, Political Parties, Politics, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Public Works, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Taxes, Trade, Welfare State on May 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm

 

by David Attewell

In 1949, Germany lay in utter ruin. World War II had devastated its people and laid waste to much of the rest of Europe. The temptation among the victors was to rain down punishment on the Germans in repayment for the catastrophic violence their militarism had brought upon the continent and the rest of the world.

Instead, the Allies heeded the lessons of Versailles, and abstained from demanding excessive reparations; the U.S infused West Germany with billions of dollars in grants and low-interest loans to rebuild its industrial economy. The Marshall Plan launched a new day for the FRG and the prosperity that followed set the conditions for a democratic, prosperous Germany with a European future.

Europe would do well today to remember these lessons as they look to the ‘Greek problem’.

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Labor Market Policy – Tackling the Pyramid

In Budget Politics, California, Democratic Governance, Economic Planning, Economics, Education Reform, European Politics, Financial Crisis, Full Employment, Health Care Reform, Higher Education, Housing, Inequality, Liberalism, Living Wage, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Regulation, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Taxes, Unions, Welfare State, Youth Policy on March 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Introduction:

It’s somewhat out of vogue to talk about the quality of jobs and the shape of the labor market at a time when unemployment is so high and the obvious issue is the number of jobs being created. This wasn’t the case prior to the recession, although rather specious reasons were given to justify the rapidly increasing inequality of wages as the outcome of superior education or productivity. What can’t be denied is that even before the recession, we were sliding into a highly unequal labor market in which many low-paid, insecure workers (50% of American workers made less than $26,000 or 230% of poverty in 2010) serve a small number of ever-richer elites.

This trend has only continued since the recession, and it’s a problem that has to be solved if we are to either fully recover or protect ourselves from the next recession.

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“Green” as Aesthetic, Ethic, or a Program

In California, Climate Change, Culture, Democratic Governance, Economic Planning, Economics, Environment, Globalization, Industrial Policy, Inequality, Liberalism, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Regulation, Taxes, Trade on March 14, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Introduction:

The internal tension within politics is the fact that politics is carried out in a language of ideological values, and values don’t really lend themselves to empirical analysis, while policy is carried out largely in a language of social science which must be. Difficulty and deception comes where the two languages either overlap or fail to find common ground. Hence the bizarre situation in which values of “fairness” and “progressiveness” were used to both attack and defend the same policies in the U.K.

However, there’s no reason why we can’t interrogate our values as closely we do our policies – to prevent values labels from turning into veils used to mislead and obfuscate. This is especially true for the label “green” where “green”-ness is used as a signifier of goodness and a way to shut down consideration of other values.

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A Wagner Act for Public Sector Unions

In Budget Politics, California, Democratic Governance, Economic Planning, Education Reform, History and Politics, Industrial Policy, Inequality, Liberalism, Living Wage, New York, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Regulation, Social Democracy, Unions, Wisconsin on March 5, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Introduction:

The sad reality of the recent spate of right-to-work laws, collective bargaining bans, anti-picketing laws, and other state level anti-union legislation is that, despite our victories in Ohio and the recalls in Wisconsin, the labor movement will never begin to make progress as long as we are fighting a piecemeal defense of an industry (the public sector) that is only 37% organized and reliant on state politics for its very existence.

In short, what we need is a Wagner Act for the public sector.

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New Urbanism and Industrial Policy – Toeing the Triple Line

In Democratic Governance, Economic Planning, Economics, Environment, Full Employment, History and Politics, Housing, Industrial Policy, Inequality, Liberalism, Living Wage, Mass Transit, Politics, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Public Works, Regulation, Social Democracy, Urbanism on February 23, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Introduction:

In the past, I’ve written about the way in which new urbanism needs to do a better job attending to issues of class. However, I want to avoid the accusation that new urbanism is classist in the same way that others have made the argument about race. The reality is that the kind of transformations that new urbanism envisions are a lot easier to do with resources, and those are easier to find in a city that’s expanding, and given the history of post-war urban development that tends to be a particular kind of city.

If we want to revive cities, and not just help cities already on the upswing, if we want to bring New Urbanism to the Detroits, Baltimores, and New Havens and not just the Seattles, Portlands, and Denvers, New Urbanists need to bring industrial policy into their worldview.

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Reining In the Bond Markets – And Knowing Is Half the Battle…

In Democratic Governance, Economic Planning, Economics, European Politics, Financial Crisis, Globalization, History and Politics, Liberalism, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Regulation, Social Democracy on February 11, 2012 at 12:37 am

 

Introduction:

If the slow-motion meltdown of the Euro has taught us anything in the last few months, it’s that the idea of the bond market is the most powerful force in international political economy at the moment. The idea of the bond market has so obsessed European leaders even to the point where they seem willing to throw their economy (and possibly the world’s) back into a recession for the sake of interest rates and Greek bondholders. Americans can hardly gloat; the idea of the bond market has pervaded calls for austerity in the U.S for the past three years, despite the fact that a first-ever downgrading of U.S Treasuries lead to lower, not higher interest rates on government debt.

So, how do we break our political system of the fear of the bond market bogeyman?

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De-commodifying Housing

In Economic Planning, Economics, Financial Crisis, History and Politics, Housing, Liberalism, New Deal, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Regulation, Social Democracy, Social Policy on August 18, 2011 at 12:31 am

Introduction:

If the Great Recession has one common thread that links the U.S, much of the E.U (Ireland, Spain, the U.K), and the rest of the world, it’s our common mistake of treating housing as a speculative commodity whose purpose is to create profits for investors, rather than structures that serve a basic human need for shelter and sanctuary. Even those nations which avoided a housing bubble themselves (like France or Germany) got themselves involved through their banking industries, who lent and speculated into the housing bubbles.

If we want to get out of our current economic stagnation and avoid future housing bubbles, the logical place to start is to de-commodify housing.

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Education Reform – the Fix is In

In Democratic Governance, Education Reform, European Politics, Higher Education, Inequality, Liberalism, Political Ideology, Political Parties, Politics, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Regulation, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Unions, Youth Policy on July 3, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Introduction:

In any other area of public policy where we see rich hedge-funders providing government agencies with private funds with strings attached, demanding control over choice of administrators and direction of public policy (such as was the case with various foundations and the D.C schools), and financing the opponents of elected officials who disagree with them (such as was the case with the 2010 city council race in New York City), we’d call it corruption by a special interest group.

Yet with education reform, prominent liberals treat it as acceptable and instead turn the traditional liberal analysis of “special interests” on teachers unions instead.

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Psychology of Public Policy – IHSS as a Model for a New Welfare State

In Budget Politics, California, Child Care, Economic Planning, Economics, Full Employment, History and Politics, Inequality, Liberalism, Living Wage, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Social Security, Welfare State, Youth Policy on April 27, 2011 at 4:30 am

Introduction:

(For previous parts in this series, see here)

One tricky dilemma that progressives have had to face about the welfare state has been the contradiction between our desire to provide universal protection against the great social ills (poverty, disease, lack of education, poor housing, and unemployment), which tends to be broadly supported by society, and society’s resistance to violations of the social norm of reciprocity. The easiest attack on welfare has always been to assert that other people are getting something for nothing and thus divide society between the payer and payee.

While progressives ran headlong into the brick wall of social resistance in the welfare politics of the 1970s, it’s not foreordained that all forms of social welfare have to meet the same fate. It is possible to be both right and smart – and learn to tack into the wind of public opinion.

Looking at the IHSS model gives us one possible solution for how to do just that.

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