Archive for the ‘Public Sector’ Category

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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“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 – Public Policy in a Context of Ideological Capture

In Democratic Governance, Economic Planning, Economics, European Politics, Financial Crisis, Globalization, Industrial Policy, Inequality, Political Ideology, Political Parties, Politics, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Regulation, Social Democracy, Taxes on February 14, 2012 at 11:15 am

Introduction:

In my last piece, I discussed the irrational nature of how the bond markets have reacted to the financial crisis and the recession that followed, simultaneously demanding austerity and then reacting to the recessionary crises their demands have created by demanding government intervention to provide growth (as long as it doesn’t result in inflation, higher taxes, or more borrowing).

As the Greek Parliament passes the kind of austerity that makes Andrew Mellon look like a bleeding-heart and Athens burns, we see European politicians demand further austerity at the same time that everyone realizes it’s not going to work. So how do we construct a new conventional wisdom amidst the tyranny of the old, and then how do we transform understanding into action?

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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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Government in the Long Run: Infrastructure

In Budget Politics, Democratic Governance, Economic Planning, Economics, High-Speed Rail, Industrial Policy, Mass Transit, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Public Works, Social Democracy on May 7, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Introduction:

If there is a common malaise of our time, it’s short-term thinking in an era when long-term problems loom ever larger. Whether it’s in health care, where Congress has decide that the only way for it to deal with the need to restrain doctors and hospital costs is to outsource it to an independent agency, or in climate change, where the Senate is flatly unwilling to pass even a moderate cap-and-trade bill (even though cap-and-trade was the free marketer’s solution to climate change), or in dealing with the long-term budget deficit, where the right wing won’t even countenance eliminating loopholes and the Democratic Party won’t tax enough to end the deficit or spend enough to create a strong recovery. At the same time, the electorate has not even been approached in a way that might lead them to consider long-term consequences of their votes.

Today, I’m going to focus on one particular issue that has become emblematic of our long-term problems – our nation’s infrastructure.

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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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