Wednesday, January 28, 2015(1 comments)
Anti-Koch: The Fight For Green Energy is a Fight for the 99 Percent
It's getting harder to defend our economic and environmental interests against the corrupting influence of campaign cash. The struggle for a fairer economy is inseparable from the struggle to protect the planet -- and both will be more successful once we've removed big money from our political process.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 Liberate 41 Million Americans From Student Loan Debt
The statistics paint a clear picture: Student debt has soared, and continues to rise. The total amount owed is now $1.3 trillion. Approximately 41 million Americans now carry student debt, a figure which rose 40 percent between 2004 and 2012. Student debt is a dark betrayal at the heart of the American promise, and it must come to an end.
Thursday, January 22, 2015(2 comments)
Yes, Obama "Won Twice" -- as a Progressive. Deal With It, Everybody
Democrats must provide bolder and stronger alternatives to the "bipartisan" consensus that has led this country rightward and has accelerated wealth inequality for decades.
The president and his party should own their victories, along with the ideas -- and the movement -- that made them possible. If they do, they're likely to see more victories in the years to come. And Republicans will just have to deal with it.
Saturday, January 17, 2015(20 comments)
Today's GOP: Too Much "Rand" and Not Enough "Paul"
Ayn Rand's face seems to hover, pale and sepulchral, over everything the modern Republican Party does. Her contempt for those in need, and her deep hatred for those who try to help them, seem to have seized possession of today's GOP like a demon in a B movie.
Monday, January 12, 2015(4 comments)
Populism Rises -- And The "Center" Strikes Back
It's no surprise that "centrist" Democrats are troubled by the challenge posed by senators like Warren, Ohio's Sherrod Brown, and Vermont's Bernie Sanders. These senators' positions aren't just good policy; they're good politics, too. While the well-funded "centrists" have too much money and media influence to be counted out, this movement poses a real threat to their dominance over the Democratic Party.
Thursday, January 8, 2015(3 comments)
The Human Cost of the GOP's Social Security Assault
This GOP move doesn't just hurt an abstract entity called "Social Security." It hurts people -- living, breathing human beings. This particular move targeted the disabled. Here's how: The overall Social Security fund is well-funded for the next two decades or so (and easily remedied beyond that point), but the disability insurance trust fund needs a short-term cash infusion from the larger retirement account.
Thursday, December 25, 2014 Wall Street Had a Merry Christmas. The New Year's Still Up For Grabs.
Some in Congress will make positive and even brave proposals -- to break up the big banks, increase Social Security benefits, raise wages, and take other much-needed steps to repair our damaged economy. But, overall, our elected officials will only have as much courage as the public demands of them.
Saturday, December 20, 2014(3 comments)
Hillary's Choice: "Anti-Gridlock" or "Anti-Wall Street"?
A candidate who "supports Wall Street within reason" -- offering only unsupportable tactical promises while most Americans fret about the economy -- is a candidate in danger of losing, no matter what the polls may say today.
Thursday, December 18, 2014(1 comments)
Sanders Speaks: Bernie Wants to Break Up the Big Banks
Sanders' bill, which he says he will introduce at the start of the next session, is given very little chance of passage. Sanders deserves praise for introducing a measure that is designed to put members of the United States Senate on record before the voters: Are they willing to break up the big banks or not?
Monday, December 15, 2014(4 comments)
We Lost the "CRomnibus" Fight, But at Least Someone's Fighting
Democrats should see every lost vote -- especially those votes lost to low turnout -- as an opportunity. What's more, not every battle will be lost. Progressives nearly defeated this deal in the House. Next time, perhaps they will. Either way, they are hopefully now a force to be reckoned with.
Thursday, December 11, 2014 This is Not a Drill -- The Budget Deal Must Be Stopped
The budget deal hammered out this week between Republican and Democratic negotiators literally imperils the economy. If it becomes law, our nation's biggest banks will once again have a green light to gamble on the derivatives that helped create the 2008 financial crisis. Congress is doing Wall Street's bidding with this budget, and it needs to be stopped.
Saturday, December 6, 2014(5 comments)
Why Demographics Can't Save the Democrats -- But Populism Can
Personality alone isn't likely to win the day. Nor will fragmented appeals to disparate population groups. Yes, Democrats should support issues like humane immigration, marriage equality, and justice for African-American communities. But they should do so for moral reasons, not because they think it will lead to some imagined electoral panacea.
Friday, December 5, 2014(1 comments)
The Unseen Heart of the Violence: Eric Garner at the Terminal Point
Our moral leaders have told us time and time again that violence against any one of us wounds us all. Until we recognize and address both forms of violence -- the seen and the unseen, the overt and the structural -- our society cannot be made whole. Until the hidden heart of violence is made visible, none of us will be able to breathe.
Friday, November 28, 2014(3 comments)
Prosecute Now: The Justice Department Can Still Act Against Bad Bankers
Banks have paid many billions of dollars in recent years to settle charges of widespread fraud. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup ... each of the nation's biggest banks has paid tens of billions to settle a wide variety of charges.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014(3 comments)
An Emotional, Poorly-Argued Attack on Elizabeth Warren from Times' Sorkin
Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times has attacked Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Her offense? Criticizing the appointment of yet another Wall Street banker to a top economic post. But Sen. Warren's fundamental point remains unrefuted: Wall Street dominates our government's decision-making apparatus to the detriment of our economy and our society, and that must change.
Saturday, November 22, 2014(5 comments)
Elizabeth Warren: "Enough is Enough" With Obama's Wall Street Appointees
Underwater homeowners have been directly or indirectly victimized by bank predation. But the administration's senior economic officials have shown a disturbing tendency to treat them as if they were morally tainted and unworthy of support. At the same time, the administration has seeded top posts with executives from wrongdoing banks and has given Wall Street bankers a pass for widespread criminal fraud.
Saturday, November 15, 2014(5 comments)
Bill Clinton's Out of Touch Economically -- and That's a Big Deal
Bill Clinton brushes aside the day-to-day trials of millions of Americans, dismissing them as nothing more than a few "bad headlines." He pitches a glossy-brochure version of our national condition instead of addressing the real-life problems many people face every day.
Thursday, October 30, 2014 Corporations Act To Make Congress A Wholly Owned Subsidiary
From the looks of things, Corporate America is no longer content with buying political influence. Now it wants to turn Congress into a wholly owned subsidiary. And it may well succeed, unless the voters thwart them on Tuesday.
Saturday, October 25, 2014(1 comments)
From Secret McConnell Audio, 12 Destructive Things a GOP Senate Will Do
If Republicans take the Senate next month (and if he wins his own reelection race), Sen. Mitch McConnell will be that body's next majority leader. Then what happens? McConnell's been frank about what the GOP would do with the Senate -- at least when he thinks nobody's listening.
Thursday, October 23, 2014(8 comments)
5 Reasons Why Democrats Should Push Social Security Expansion -- Now
Voters understand that cuts in Social Security's operating budget deprive them of something they've been paying for throughout their working lives. The next phase of Social Security expansion should also call for expanding, not shrinking, Social Security's administrative functions.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 Populism: A Light Against Republican Darkness
People are saying there's a darkness on the edge of town. It's born of the fear, pessimism and uncertainty that have become the Republican political brand. And if the polls are right, there's every chance that its shadow will fall upon Capitol Hill and envelop both houses of Congress.
Saturday, October 4, 2014 Progressive Champion Bill de Blasio Models Populist Change
Bill de Blasio ran for mayor as a populist, and he has governed as one. He's already achieved impressive things -- and he's only one-fifth of the way through his first term. His populist-themed campaign offered important lessons for candidates and elected officials everywhere. And his mayoralty is becoming a model for the nation's cities to follow.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014(9 comments)
100 Zephyrs: Why The Left Must Challenge Corporate Democrats
If there is no pressure from the left, political debate will continue to shift ever rightward, just as it has under Bill Clinton and during Obama's first term. Without that pressure, important policy options will go unmentioned, depriving the public of the policy debate it needs and deserves. Primary challenges are a critical part of that effort.
Saturday, September 20, 2014(4 comments)
"Think Locally, Act Globally": 6 Takeaways From The Scotland Vote
Scotland had seen its voter participation rate fall to near-US levels in recent decades, especially for European Parliament votes. But with an estimated 85 percent of the electorate participating in this vote, it's clear that people will come to the polls if they feel that the election will have an impact on their own destiny.
Monday, September 8, 2014 Democrats in D.C. Must Fight For More Jobs -- Or Risk Losing Their Own
Voters go to the polls in less than 60 days. Democrats have very little time in which to tell that voters exactly what they would do to create more and better jobs, how that would benefit both the unemployed and the underpaid middle class, and who is preventing them from creating those jobs.
Sunday, September 7, 2014(4 comments)
Democrats, Meet the Minimum-Wage Movement
The fast-food workers' issue, a higher minimum wage, is one most Americans understand. It is a cause, and a source of political energy, that Democrats would be wise to embrace. With the midterm elections only two months away, the Democratic Party's prospects seem doubtful. Experts give Democrats little chance of retaking the House, and they are in grave danger of losing the Senate.
Friday, August 29, 2014(6 comments)
The 7 Strangest Libertarian Ideas
Few movements in the United States today harbor stranger political ideas than the self-proclaimed libertarians. The Rand Paul school of libertarianism is at least as far outside the mainstream on the right as, say, a rather doctrinaire old-school form of Marxism/Leninism is on the left.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014(3 comments)
A Stock-Market Milestone is Reached, But Who Cares?
What can be said about a political process that so faithfully executes the wishes of the wealthy and powerful at everyone else's expense? The ever-widening gulf between our two economies reflects a breakdown in our democracy -- or, rather, a corruption of it on behalf of special interests.
Monday, August 18, 2014(1 comments)
One Nation Under Siege: "Counterinsurgency Cops" in Ferguson -- and on TV
The transfer of used military equipment from the armed forces to police departments around the country has been accompanied, at least to a certain extent, by a shift in public thinking. The news media have played a critical part in that shift, both in its coverage and in what it chooses not to cover.
Saturday, August 16, 2014(2 comments)
JPMorgan Chase's $13 Billion Shadow
If the public really understood how badly this bank's employees acted, consumers and investors might stop doing business with them. Banks don't commit fraud; bankers do. The fraud which led to this $13 billion settlement was committed by people -- real people, people whose identities were often known to investigators.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014(4 comments)
"Running as Democrats While Sounding Republican" -- Hey, What Could Go Wrong?
If choosing to echo Republican messaging becomes a common pattern among Democrats, voters would lose an essential feature of democracy: the ability to choose between two competing visions. The nation would be deprived of a debate on critical economic issues, and the future would become darker for everyone.
Saturday, August 9, 2014(4 comments)
How Big Is a $16 Billion Bank Fraud Settlement, Really?
Settlements do not require banks to provide principal relief for these underwater homeowners. They don't ask banks to return homes that they wrongfully took from their owners. They don't ask banks to forfeit every penny of earnings received through forgery or perjury. They don't even ask them to restore the credit ratings of defrauded customers.
Monday, August 4, 2014(1 comments)
As Congress Adjourns, GOP Declares "Omission Accomplished"
The shameful record of Congress is not an example of "government failure." It is a demonstration of what happens when people who are opposed to government, for reasons of both ideology and self-interest, are given positions of power within it and do not face a sufficiently eloquent and well-organized opposition.
Saturday, July 26, 2014(3 comments)
Chiding CEOs, At Walgreens & Other Corporate Defectors
Call it the "Inversion Evasion." Walgreens would become a "Swiss company" for tax avoidance purposes only. The combined corporation would do a small percentage of its business there. In all other respects, however, it would remain fully American -- headquartered here, making most of its profits here, and continuing to use its lobbying dollars and campaign money to distort the political process HERE.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 7 Reasons Consumers Won't Love the $7 Billion Citigroup Deal
Apparently the fraud settlement was anything but a mortal blow for the bank, an entity created by the actions of both Democrats and Republicans in Washington. Citigroup was subsequently saved from collapse with a $45 billion emergency loan from the government, after participating in the crime wave that helped precipitate a financial crisis.
Thursday, July 10, 2014 The President Sounds a Wall Street Warning. And Then " ?
It was good to hear President Obama say that reining in Wall Street's high-risk behavior is an "unfinished piece of business." Let's hope the president is doing more than simply stating his awareness of these problems for posterity. If he genuinely wants to shine a light on some much-needed solutions, he should employ the old movie-business maxim: Show, don't tell.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014 Barack Obama, Wall Street Warrior?
The preamble to the Dodd Frank bill specifically mentions the profound economic threat of "too big to fail" banks. Much more needs to be done to address this critical problem, including a reinstatement of Glass-Steagall and a wind-down of banks which pose systemic threats. Let's hope the President is doing more than simply stating his awareness of these problems for posterity.
Sunday, July 6, 2014(18 comments)
Warren Brings Populism Down South. Is Hillary Paying Attention?
What should Democrats in Washington take away from Warren's visit to Kentucky? In addition to demonstrating that populism sells everywhere, it's also a clear sign that the discredited "Third Way" agenda of corporate Democrats -- an agenda that has dominated the national party for more than two decades -- doesn't sell.
Thursday, July 3, 2014(3 comments)
10 Mind-Bending Questions About the "Hobby Lobby" Decision
It is the Court which has arguably transgressed here, by declaring that a bloodless corporation is capable of belief. It has suggested that an economic and legal entity is capable of sharing in the profound and uniquely human phenomenon that is the spiritual experience. That notion could be described as disrespectful toward humanity.
Sunday, June 29, 2014(1 comments)
On the Economy, It's Been One Snafu After Another
This was the worst quarter for the GDP since the peak of the Great Recession five years ago. At this point American people might be forgiven for doubting the experts and leaders who should be counted on to make responsible decisions. "SNAFU" is an old military term that means "situation normal, all 'effed' up." That's been the state of play in economic policy for some time now.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014(15 comments)
A Secret Plan to Close Social Security's Offices and Outsource Its Work
The fact that neither the SSA, the administration, nor the president himself are publicly fighting these brutal cuts is a betrayal of Social Security's promise. That betrayal is made even more acute by the fact that cuts to Social Security's administrative budgets do not help the deficit in any way, since the SSA is fully funded from Social Security's revenues.
Saturday, June 21, 2014(1 comments)
The "Double Irish With a Dutch Sandwich" Corporate Tax-Dodge Crisis
When these companies use American resources to become American success stories, and then refuse to pay American taxes, that's unfair. It may not be illegal -- at least, not after their highly-priced lobbyists game the system for them on the front end while equally high-priced lawyers cover their rear ends. But it's wrong just the same.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014(1 comments)
What Democrats Can Learn from Cantor's Loss
Brat's candidacy doesn't belong in the standard tea-party basket. Cantor more closely fit this mold, with his fiery tea party-like rhetoric belying the fact that he was very much part of the Beltway elite, a Republican apparatchik, and a friend of the corporate class. We need a real debate about how to break the corporate stranglehold on politics and the economy.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014(1 comments)
Unions 2.0? Trumka on Austerity, Elizabeth Warren, and Progressives
The labor movement must transform itself to meet the changing circumstances the 21st century. Its future will depend on the imagination and accessibility of its current leaders, as well as its ability to develop the leaders of the future. At a time when we face catastrophic and potentially irreversible changes in everything from wealth inequality to climate change, there will be many more questions to come.
Monday, June 9, 2014 The Koching of America -- and of PBS: Tia Lessin of "Citizen Koch"
After decades of seeing it attacked by the right wing, most Americans probably consider PBS a bastion of liberal thought -- that is, if they think about it at all. The truth is that years of funding cuts have led to an increasing reliance on billionaires and their foundations. The Public Broadcasting System isn't really public anymore -- at least, not to the extent it once was.
Monday, June 2, 2014 The Real Piketty Scandal (Is Right-Wing Deception)
To distort the facts or make false accusations is to poison that marketplace with tainted goods. When conservatives do it as a matter of routine -- on economics, climate change and so many other issues -- it also sends the subliminal message that they don't believe they can win an argument on its merits.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014(2 comments)
Making The "New Populism" A Reality: Lessons From The Conference
Profound social change -- whether in the agrarian economy of the 1900s, the growth of labor rights, civil rights, women's rights, or in other transformative historical moments -- has always begun with a popular movement. "Politicians see the light when they feel the heat," as Rep. Ellison said.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 Did Washington Rescue the Wrong Economy?
Timothy Geithner's recent public statements got the bailout exactly backwards. Geithner has argued that rescuing homeowners who were left underwater after the 2008 financial crisis wasn't worth the effort, and that rescuing the banking system was our most urgent priority.
Saturday, May 17, 2014(4 comments)
What Does Hillary Believe? Populists Want to Know
It seems clear that President Clinton is characterizing populism -- and the majority's will -- as violent, irrational, and insatiable. It's reasonable to ask whether that viewpoint is shared by the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee. These comments suggest that Bill Clinton perceives a state of war between two classes -- and that he's chosen his side.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014(21 comments)
Look Out, Wall Street, the New Populism Is Coming
The public's mood, despite years of attempts by most Republicans and many Democrats to placate them, is distinctly populist. And much of that populist sentiment is directed toward the financial institutions which have so badly damaged our economy.
Friday, May 9, 2014 Bill de Blasio Knows: Affordable Housing is a Civil Right
What happens if this plan isn't carried out? Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn will increasingly become white, wealthy enclaves. ederal officials should be working to replicate it in cities and towns all across the country. Without fair and affordable housing in the heart of our urban centers, we can never become the egalitarian and democratic society that should be our destiny and our legacy.
Saturday, April 26, 2014(4 comments)
So You've Read (or Read About) Piketty. Now What?
"Capital" offers activists, analysts and lawmakers a new pair of glasses with which to view our economic landscape. If some of that landscape already looks familiar, that's to be expected. And even when we choose to plot a slightly different course than the one Piketty recommends, he has provided a valuable service. Where we go from here is up to us.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014(2 comments)
Invisible Social Security Cuts: Now You See Them, Now You Don't
Congress has cut 14 out of the last 16 SSA budget requests. There's only one rational explanation for that: a hostility toward government itself, combined with the determination to place more public resources in corporate hands through "privatization." It's a simple game. Slash funding for well-run government programs, then use the resulting chaos as "evidence" that "government isn't the solution, it's the problem."
Monday, April 7, 2014(5 comments)
Is Charles Koch "Un-American"? Let Thomas Jefferson Decide
What Koch calls "character assassination," others would describe as a simple recounting of the facts. Koch and his brother David are known for injecting massive amounts of their (partially inherited) wealth into the political process, academia, and propaganda in order to promote their right-wing (and self-serving) point of view.
Friday, April 4, 2014 McCutcheon, the Majority, and the Challenge of Our Time
One compelling way to look at the Supreme Court's McCutcheon ruling is by contrasting its immediate and long-term effects with the American people's aspirations for their government. They are at cross purposes. Even before this ruling, 64 percent of those polled believed that our country's economic rules unfairly favor the rich. This ruling will rig the game even further.
Saturday, March 29, 2014(2 comments)
Bill Clinton and Steny Hoyer: The "Wall Street Democrats" Fight Back
There's a struggle underway over the future of the Democratic Party. The populist movement has scored some significant recent wins, including the electoral victories of Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Its ideas resonate with the public. But the remarks from Clinton and Hoyer demonstrate that the party's Wall Street wing is still riding tall in the saddle despite its discredited ideas.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 The Cost of Empire, in Ukraine and at Home
Long-term unemployment remains at crisis levels. Wage stagnation is strangling the middle class, and debate over minimum-wage legislation is also being sidelined for this imperial posturing. We urgently need a national debate about economic policy. Instead we're treated to endless empty tirades from the likes of Lindsay Graham and John McCain in the Senate, and from Sarah Palin and her ilk in the media circus.
Sunday, March 23, 2014(1 comments)
Bernie Madoff Sounds a Lot Like These Angry Billionaires
Some of the most powerful and wealthy people in America are feeling persecuted. The Langone/Perkins crowd is powerful, angry, afraid and unrepentant. That doesn't bode well -- for them or anyone else. Many of these angry billionaires have earned their wealth through intelligence and hard work. They've also been lucky, and have been aided by the society whose citizens they now castigate in the harshest terms.