Archive for the ‘Unions’ Category

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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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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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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In Honor of the Workers of Wisconsin: Classic TRP – In Defense of Public Sector Unionism III

In Budget Politics, California, Democratic Governance, Economic Planning, Economics, Education Reform, Full Employment, Liberalism, Living Wage, New Deal, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Taxes, Unions, Welfare State, Wisconsin on February 25, 2011 at 11:21 am

Introduction:

The last installment in The Realignment Program’s re-posting of its series on public employee unions is here, and we turn from defending the idea of public employee unions to thinking towards a more expansive, hopeful vision of how progressives can promote public sector unionism.

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In Honor of the Workers of Wisconsin: Classic TRP – In Defense of Public Sector Unionism II

In Budget Politics, California, Democratic Governance, Economic Planning, Economics, Education Reform, Industrial Policy, Inequality, Liberalism, Living Wage, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Social Democracy, Taxes, Unions, Welfare State, Wisconsin on February 23, 2011 at 11:08 am

Introduction:

Continuing our re-posting of The Realignment Project’s series on public sector unions, here’s part 2, in which we learn that that public sector workers are not overpaid, but that private sector workers are underpaid.
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In Honor of the Workers of Wisconsin: Classic TRP – In Defense of Public Sector Unionism

In Budget Politics, Economic Planning, Economics, History and Politics, Industrial Policy, Liberalism, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Social Democracy, Taxes, Unions, Wisconsin on February 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Introduction:

In honor of the public sector workers of Wisconsin and their struggle to maintain their human right to organize, I’m re-posting The Realignment Project’s three-part series in defense of public sector unionism over the next three days:

in part one, we learn some of the background of why even some progressives are uncomfortable with the idea of public sector unions, and why all progressives should support the right of public workers to unionize.

in part two, we examine the statistical illusion of the “public sector premium,” and learn how the difference between public and private sector pay is actually the difference between union and non-union.

in part three, we move from a purely defensive standpoint to begin articulating a new vision for how public sector unions can be brought into the center of progressive government.

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Industrial Policy – It Actually Works!

In Economic Planning, Economics, Full Employment, History and Politics, Industrial Policy, Liberalism, Living Wage, Political Ideology, Political Parties, Politics, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Regulation, Social Democracy, Unions on November 29, 2010 at 9:31 pm

How NOT to do it

Introduction:

When the first generation of historians begin their work on the Obama Administration, one of the more puzzling chapters will be the winter of 2010, when a major sea-change occurred in public policy that neither the administration nor the media were particularly eager to spend that much time trumpeting – namely, the revival of industrial policy after forty years or more beyond the pale of the Conventional Wisdom, as demonstrated by the success of the American automotive industry rescue.

While we wait for that generation of historians to get started being born, we can at least begin to learn some lessons about how and why the Big Three rescue worked when other industry bailouts have been such miserable failures.

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Job Insurance – The Problem With “Temporary” Stimulus

In Budget Politics, Economic Planning, Economics, Full Employment, History and Politics, Inequality, Liberalism, Living Wage, New Deal, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Unions, Welfare State, WPA on September 30, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Introduction:

Struggles over public policy take place on two levels – the day-to-day conflict over specific policies (should tax cuts be extended and for whom, whether we should balance the budget or stimulate) and the larger, often somewhat subterranean debates over the political economy of the country.

Behind debates (largely within the Democratic Party, given the Republican Party’s commitment to universal obstruction) over whether to “stimulate now, and cut later” or “cut now and cut later” is a division over what kind of economic order we want to have. The Stimulus Caucus broadly supports an economic order marked by more attention to unemployment levels, economic growth, and investments in infrastructure and human capital. The Pain Brigade by contrast supports an economic order marked by more attention to the profits of the financial sector, and maintaining weak regulations and low taxes on financial corporations, financial executives, and stockholders, and which is more comfortable with high levels of unemployment – as long as it means low inflation and low interest rates.

However, as much as I side with the Stimulus Caucus, I feel compelled to point out that their basic model of “stimulate now, cut later” is marked with a serious flaw: stimulating back to the pre-crash economy isn’t good enough, because the pre-crash economy has serious long-term problems that require permanent solutions.

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New Deal for California – Part 3 (Educate and Punish)

In Budget Politics, California, Economic Planning, Economics, Education Reform, Higher Education, Inequality, Liberalism, Political Ideology, Political Parties, Politics, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Taxes, Uncategorized, Unions, Welfare State, Youth Policy on July 3, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Introduction:

In part 1 of a New Deal for California, I discussed why any effort to rebuild the state must begin with a frontal assault on high unemployment as the only reliable means of achieving budget stability – as opposed to self-defeating quests for balance via austerity. In part 2, I studied how the quest for a more perfect democracy is inextricably linked to a renewal of democratic control over the state’s own revenues.

Today, I want to discuss two areas of policy that are among the largest spending categories in the California state budget, but which also represent two faces of the state, and two approaches to developing its youth, and two sets of values – namely, education and prisons. Arnold’s recent proposal to put a floor under higher education at 10% of the state budget and a ceiling over prisons at 7% of the state budget is only the most recent example of a long trend of discussing the two in the same breath. As I discussed in the linked article, Schwarzenegger’s approach is fundamentally flawed, a mirage of egalitarianism masking a reality of utter callousness. A moral society cannot pay for the future of its most talented youth through the deliberate immiseration of its least advantaged.

However, a New Deal for California will have to grapple with the reality that California will either educate or incarcerate its young, and that the power to choose lies with us.

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After Health Care Reform – State-Level Single-Payer

In Budget Politics, California, Economic Planning, Economics, Health Care Reform, Inequality, Liberalism, Politics, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Taxes, Unions, Welfare State on May 8, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Introduction:

In the wake of the passage of the Affordable Choices Act into law, there are a lot of questions about how we go on from here. Obviously, one line of activism focuses on ways to improve the health care reform act. To some progressives so morally outraged at the defeat of the public option that they’ve given up on the Congress as hopelessly wedded to corporate interests, obviously, this isn’t so appealing.

However, if the progressive movement can be clever and strategic for a second, and is willing to work from within rather than to cry defeat, we can actually work on the state level to move the goalposts of the health care debate in the direction of single-payer before we even get to the next round of national legislation.

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