Steve Mnuchin Is No Joe Kennedy and He's Unfit for His New Gig
Assuming that his confirmation proceeds as expected, Mnuchin and Trump -- together with Mnuchin's ex-Goldman Sachs colleagues -- will work with a Republican-led House and Senate that shares a basic antipathy to banking regulation and has increasingly diverted Wall Street campaign contributions from the Democrats.
Saturday, February 11, 2017
We Have Not Yet Begun to Fight Tom Price
Tom Price believes that government can't do anything right. He's wrong. He believes government doesn't need to care for the poor, people with disabilities and the elderly, or manage the economy, protect our health, or keep its covenant with working Americans when they retire.
Monday, February 6, 2017(3 comments)
Trump Stands Up for Bad Bankers
On February 3, President Trump signed executive actions rolling back financial regulations that were put into place after Congress passed the Dodd-Frank banking reform bill in 2010. With these actions, Trump has let the American people know whose side he's on, and it's not theirs. Millions of people are now more likely to be robbed of their savings, their homes and their retirement security.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017(2 comments)
Trump's Supreme Court Pageant: a Silly Show to Fill a Stolen Seat
We're talking about a seat on a divided Supreme Court, not a year as a "goodwill ambassador," and the nation is entering a period of chaos and challenge. Trump's erratic behavior, his sweeping and ill-framed executive orders, and the firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates have provoked a crisis of confidence and governance; a full-blown constitutional crisis is probably not far behind.
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Will the Senate's "Good Republicans" Reject a Dishonest Nominee?
There's compelling evidence to show that Steve Mnuchin, Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of the Treasury, lied to the Senate in both written and verbal testimony. Senate Republicans seem to be taking these offenses in stride. None of the GOP's "independents" and "mavericks" have indicated that they will oppose his nomination.
Friday, January 27, 2017
Five Groups of Americans Who'll Get Shafted Under Trump's Hiring Freeze
The overall impact of Trump's hiring freeze is clear: it shows a reckless disregard for the health, safety, and well-being of the American people. Trump's just getting started. His memo instructs the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to come up with a broader long-term plan for reducing the federal workforce through attrition.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Marc Short: Koch Dark-Money Operative Is Trump's Liaison to Congress
Short isn't really a policy wonk. He's an operative in Republican and right-wing circles. After serving as finance director for Oliver North's failed senatorial campaign, Short reportedly helped Pence run the House Republican Conference, managed the Reagan Ranch, and was a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security under Bush.
Friday, January 20, 2017
Inauguration Day: Letter to a Trump Voter
Even harder times are coming. Trump's administration is planning deep government cuts that will hurt millions of Americans. You may be excited about his victory now, but you're facing some big disappointments in the coming months and years.
Beyond Resistance: The Story of 2016
There's no soft-pedaling it: Any year that gives us Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Steve Bannon -- and takes David Bowie, Prince, and Leonard Cohen -- is a terrible year. But millions of people were excited by the Sanders campaign. As the Trump era begins, millions more are starting to see that real resistance must be affirmative and real change must come from below.
Monday, December 12, 2016(1 comments)
Through the GOP, the Wealthy Are Waging War on the Old
The war on the elderly has two primary fronts: Medicare and Social Security. As a candidate, Donald Trump distinguished himself from other Republicans by insisting that he didn't want to cut either one. Once elected, however, Trump nominated rabidly anti-Medicare partisan Tom Price to become Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Monday, December 5, 2016
How Trump's Grift Gave Government to the 0.01 Percent
It's not just their wealth that distinguishes Trump's team from the vast majority of Americans. It's their class exclusivity. Trump has largely drawn from people who, like him, were born into wealth and privilege. This insularity, combined with the heartlessness of the policies they espouse, makes it even less likely that they will empathize with -- or even understand -- the problems of ordinary people.
Thursday, December 1, 2016(1 comments)
This Trump Hire is Hazardous to Your Health (And Not Just Your Medicare)
Trump's opposition to Medicare cuts distinguished him from other Republican contenders and helped him win the presidency. With this choice, he's made it clear that his campaign was a lie. Tom Price's nomination will have an adverse impact on Americans' health. If someone tells you someday that this year's election made them sick, they may be telling the truth.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016(4 comments)
Who Will Lead the Anti-Trump Resistance?
Trump's diehard followers will undoubtedly seek out fake news from faux sources, including his own Twitter feed, to cling to the illusion that he's fighting for them for as long as possible. But even they may be forced to face facts when Congressional Republicans target Medicare and Social Security, while Trump's billionaire cabinet despoils the environment, attacks public schools, and cuts cushy deals for Big Pharma.
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
"Financial Elder Abuse Charges" Against Trump. Business As Usual in DC.
Donald Trump's abuses and excesses cannot be normalized. But neither should they become a free pass for the misbehavior of our business-as-usual political class, whose members have their own problems with honesty and fair play. What they do may be legal, but that doesn't make it right.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Welcome to Swamp Trump. Please Don't Feed the Gators.
It's already a Washington truism that Donald Trump, who promised to "drain the swamp" of lobbyists and others who exploit government for personal gain, has turned to it instead for his key appointments. It's true. The reptiles are taking over. Trump's only doing what his fellow developers did in the Florida Land Rush of the 1920s: He's selling people paradise, but giving them swampland instead.
Monday, November 14, 2016(2 comments)
12 Notes From a Political Autopsy
This was a devastating defeat. Trump faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. He was so psychopathically unhinged during the campaign that even many of his own voters doubted his fitness for the job. His party's ideas are disliked by a majority of the public. On topics like Social Security, they're even disliked by a majority of its own voters.Under the circumstances, Trump and his party should have lost overwhelmingly.
Monday, November 7, 2016(1 comments)
We Were All Outsiders in Trump's America Once -- Even Trump
We were all strangers here once, all except the first people of this land. Some people can't remember that, because they're too consumed with hate, or fear, or anger, or ambition. Some see themselves as different from the black, the brown, the LGBT, the differently gendered, the Muslim, the Jew. But it's true. We were all strangers once.
Friday, November 4, 2016(3 comments)
Behind the Job Numbers, Millions Are Being Left Behind
Underneath these favorable numbers, a darker story is being told. The labor force participation rate -- the number of Americans who are working or are actively looking for a job -- slipped by a small fraction and remains near its lowest level in four decades. Many workers have simply been left out of the job economy.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016(2 comments)
Obamacare's Biggest Problem is Profit, Not Government
The ACA differed from these Republican plans in several key ways, including its expansion of Medicaid and the small additional tax it imposed on high earners. But it has Republican DNA. If President Obama hoped that would bring in some GOP support, he miscalculated. As the president himself said, "Republicans reversed course and rejected their own ideas once they appeared in the text of a bill I supported."
Wednesday, October 26, 2016(4 comments)
What Does It Take to Survive Where You Live?
Many of the jobs created since the Wall Street-driven financial crisis of 2008 have been in low-paying fields like food and drinking services (i.e., bars and restaurants), where the average weekly pay is only $339 a week, and home-health care services, a largely female workforce whose average weekly income is $548.
Monday, October 24, 2016(1 comments)
The Better Business Bureau Downgraded Wells Fargo. It's Not Enough.
Wells Fargo's latest scandal has captured the public's attention because it's easier to understand than other, more esoteric forms of bank crime. Those crimes won't end until banks, and bankers, pay a price for their misdeeds. Banking must be demystified, so that Wall Street institutions and their CEOs can be judged like other business people.
Thursday, October 20, 2016(1 comments)
Our Long National Debate Nightmare is Over
A media circus was inevitable once Trump became the Republican nominee, and many people will be glad to see this campaign draw to a close. Donald Trump will probably never grace a national debate stage again, so there's that. But national campaigns, and the media's coverage of them, have been shortchanging voters for a long time. That's not likely to change.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016(2 comments)
The Last Debate: How Low Will It Go?
Trump's vulgarity and demagoguery, together with the media's insatiable appetite for ratings, have made this campaign a race to the bottom. The night's biggest question won't be asked by the moderator. The question is: How low can this race go before it's over? We're about to find out.
Monday, October 17, 2016(2 comments)
Her First 100 Days: A Pledge to Take On Wells Fargo and Wall Street
Hillary should demonstrate in word and deed what has unfortunately yet to be demonstrated in the nation's capital: that the law will be enforced on Wall Street as well as on Main Street without fear or favor. Whether those crimes consist of investor fraud, consumer fraud, theft, or racial discrimination, no bank executive should ever again believe he or she is above the law.
Friday, October 14, 2016
The Republicans' Civil War -- And Everyone Else's
Parties, like people, eventually get the face they deserve. The Republicans deserve Trump's -- a face that took on so many hostile expressions in the last debate that they could have illustrated the Big Book of American Scowls. His is the face of the true GOP, the red, angry, babylike yowling face of the American right.
In a Populist Moment, Hillary Clinton's Left-Leaning Economic Vision
Clinton is acknowledging that the political reality about Wall Street fraud has changed. Former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders and his millions of supporters, along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other key players, have moved her to the left on this subject, at least rhetorically. Activists can use these fierce words to press for additional bank reform, should she become president.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
The People's Issues Came Second in the First Debate
The debate was largely a clash of personalities, rather than visions for the nation's future. Moderator Lester Holt asked some excellent questions, including a number we had hoped would be asked about the economy and racial justice. But at times it felt as if NORAD should deploy its Christmas Eve "Santa tracker" to find Holt, as the candidates railed for long stretches about whatever they wanted with no sign of his presence.
Monday, September 26, 2016(2 comments)
We Need a Real People's Debate, Not the "Fight of the Century"
The Clinton campaign says it's worried the media will give Trump a "passing grade" even if he lies extravagantly. That's a legitimate concern. But it's part of a larger problem: a "political/media industrial complex" that leaves media more concerned about ratings than reality and politicians more worried about posturing than policies.
Friday, September 23, 2016(11 comments)
Immigrants Don't Steal Jobs Or Wages. Billionaires Do.
Thanks to political science research published at Princeton University: political decision-making in this country is driven by corporate and ultra-wealthy elites, not by the democratic majority. This oligarchical usurpation of influence has led office holders at all levels to implement policies that kill jobs, depress wages, and increase inequality.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Wells Fargo Had a Bad Day. That's a Start.
Wells Fargo's CEO faced a rough grilling. That's a start. But John Stumpf is undoubtedly decompressing somewhere right now, waiting in comfort for the heat to die down. Wall Street's fraud won't end until its senior executives are held fully accountable for their actions -- and not just for a day.
Monday, September 19, 2016
Despite Some Good Economic News, The Status Quo Is Not Enough
How can Democrats convince struggling voters that they understand their needs while at the same time celebrating an economy that has left these voters behind? That job got even harder last week when the president teamed up with Ohio Gov. John Kasich and other Republicans to push another job-killing trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP.
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Stiglitz Speaks: Globalization's Grand Failure, Apple & Bad Trade Deals
Why have so many policymakers in Europe and the United States continued to push globalization, despite the evidence? "In American politics," Stiglitz replied, "part of the reason is of course the influence of money." He pointed out that both presidential candidates now say they oppose the TPP, which he takes as a hopeful sign.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016(1 comments)
Al Capone, Meet Wells Fargo
Every major bank on Wall Street has a rap sheet that would make a Chicago gangster blush. Nevertheless, bank-servile Republicans -- including Donald Trump -- have been calling to disband the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, even as it brings Wells Fargo to something like justice.
Friday, September 2, 2016(1 comments)
How Much Will the War On Unions Cost You This Labor Day?
We can't change the past, but we can change the future. Unions are exploring new ways to reach nonunion workers. The Fight for $15 is gaining momentum. Progressive populism is on the rise. Working people can hope for a better life in Labor Days yet to come. Better yet, they can fight for it.
Wednesday, August 31, 2016(18 comments)
Health Care Is a Right, Not a Business
By any objective measure, the U.S. insurance industry has failed to manage either the cost or the quality of health care. Health care is a human right, and private insurers have failed to safeguard it. They had their shot, and they blew it. Health care is a right, not a business.
Monday, August 29, 2016(7 comments)
The "People's Fed" and the Oracles of Jackson Hole
As long as the Fed's organizational culture is dominated by the financial sector, it cannot reflect the American people's needs, hopes and values. And as long as its ownership and accountability remain hazy, even an oracle won't be able to tell us who it's really here to serve.
Saturday, August 20, 2016(4 comments)
Trump's Estate Tax: An Aristocrat's Gift to His Friends and Family
If anybody is a "little guy" it's Trump -- and I'm not talking about his hands. It takes a little heart to be born into such wealth and yet be filled with such self-regard and selfishness. It takes a little heart to want so much for himself and so little for others, to bring out the worst in our neighbors and be so cruel to the strangers at our door. Maybe we should call this spoiled child of privilege a "little prince."
Friday, August 19, 2016(1 comments)
Will The "Fix the Debt" Manipulators Ever Reform Themselves?
There's no need to revisit the evidence against Wall Street's top executives, or the fact that many Wall Streeters are involved with Fix the Debt. There's no need to recap the hidden agenda behind this campaign, or the fact that these would-be Social Security slashers all have great retirement plans of their own.
Monday, August 15, 2016(2 comments)
Workers of the Future, Unite
Power isn't won by waiting for tomorrow. It's won by challenging entrenched interests, here and now. We need to prepare for a future in which advances in productivity -- from technology or other sources -- are shared more equally than they are today. To do that, we must build a more equitable economy today.
Saturday, August 13, 2016(2 comments)
The Fiscal Myth That's Killing The Economy, In 7 Steps
The crisis of 2008, and the events that followed, disproved austerity economics and other hallmarks of conservative economic thought. But it remains popular in powerful circles -- perhaps because, as Upton Sinclair said (in the gendered language of his time): "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
Tuesday, August 9, 2016(1 comments)
The Incredible Shrinking Populist: Donald Trump's Tiny Economic Vision
This is Trump's biggest contradiction: He exhorts Americans to "think big" and "dream great things." But Donald Trump is all talk and no action. In the end he's just another selfish and small-minded Republican, with tiny dreams and a tiny vision in a nation that is still capable of greatness.
Monday, August 8, 2016
American Greed: Trump's Economic Team Is a Who's Who of What's Wrong
Trump's team isn't just monochromatic and male. At least four, and perhaps as many six, of the men are billionaires. They range in age from 50 to 74 -- or, from "younger old white guy" to "older old white guy." Five team members are named Steve -- which means that eight of them are not. For diversity, that will have to do. There are only two economists on the team -- and one of them believes in the flat tax.
The Birds on Trump's Brain
Here's what Trump said about wind power: "The wind kills all your birds. All your birds, killed. You know, the environmentalists never talk about that."Trump is still the Republican Party candidate. And when it comes to climate change, and regulations, and fossil fuels, he's more typically Republican than you might think. But when it comes to bird brains, he's in a class by himself.
Saturday, July 23, 2016(4 comments)
Trump's Terrifying Pitch: It Was Better Than You Think
Trump's acceptance speech was Demagoguery 101: Terrify, then reassure. Threaten people with destruction, then reassure them with the warm embrace of your fatherly arms. It's what kidnappers do to instill Stockholm syndrome in their prisoners. And Trump's eerily good at it.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016(47 comments)
Clinton Must Go Bold -- and Go Left -- For VP
Clinton must energize and excite the Democratic base, along with millions of millennials who have never voted. She needs to bring excitement, and a sense of the new, to a campaign conspicuously lacking in those qualities. Voters remain deeply dissatisfied with the status quo. Clinton's biggest problem, and the greatest threat to her candidacy, is the fact that she's seen as the candidate of the status quo.
Tuesday, July 19, 2016(1 comments)
Trump 2016: The Three Shadows Haunting Cleveland
As for Republicans, consider their ethics. In December Paul Ryan condemned Trump on moral grounds, saying his anti-Muslim bigotry is "not who we are as a people or a country." Ryan will address the convention on Tuesday night. They'll all be making their deals with the devil this week, these cut-rate Fausts in the Quicken Loans Arena.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016(5 comments)
Don't Stop the Revolution: The Sanders Movement After Orlando
Platforms are promises. That makes them useful in the hands of activists willing to hold politicians to them. It's easy to lose faith when important battles are lost, or to become overconfident when they're won. But, in both defeat and victory, this revolution must go on. This is the most progressive Democratic platform in history, but only because millions of people demanded it -- with their votes and their activism.
Friday, July 8, 2016(1 comments)
Can the Democratic Platform Change the Future of American Banking?
Just as war is too important to be left to the generals, politics is too important to be left to the politicians. This platform language may not be binding, but it's a useful tool in the hands of committed activists. An independent movement -- call it a "political revolution" if you like -- can demand that Democrats honor the commitments they made during this campaign.
Wednesday, July 6, 2016(4 comments)
Inequality's Getting Worse. How Do We End This?
A society with such extreme and growing inequality can't sustain itself forever. Inequality interferes with economic growth, robs people of opportunity (and with it, hope), dooms millions to poverty or near-impoverished conditions, and offends that part of the human spirit that constantly searches for fairness and equality.
Friday, June 24, 2016(6 comments)
Brexit and the New Global Rebellion
The "Leave" vote was a rejection of globalization, at least as it's currently structured. This was a revolt of working class Britons who have seen their postwar prosperity erode around them and their social contract eviscerated by the corporate and financial oligarchy.
Monday, June 20, 2016(6 comments)
Bernie Sanders' Leverage Isn't Going Anywhere. Deal With It.
Sanders' voters can't be handed off to Clinton and her party like a football. They are deeply skeptical about her, and not without reason. It will take concessions to win their support. And those concessions -- especially on popular issues like tuition-free higher education, Wall Street reform, and Social Security -- will make the Democrats a stronger party.
Friday, June 17, 2016
For Nine Souls in Charleston, One Year Later
Trump delivered a speech this week that should chill all reasonable people to the bone. He's prepared to punish all of our nation's Muslims for the actions of one deluded killer. New Jersey Governor and Trump supporter Chris Christie upped the ante, threatening to bomb a foreign country for the crime of one sick individual born in Queens, N.Y.
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Would You Trust Henry Kissinger with Your Social Security?
Kissinger supported the violent overthrow of the Chilean government by a right-wing dictator. Kissinger gave the go-ahead to the Indonesian government's massacre in East Timor. Kissinger's other offenses and blunders are too numerous to list here. Would you trust this man with your Social Security? Do you think he'd make wise and humane decisions about our society's priorities?
Tuesday, June 7, 2016(1 comments)
Social Security's Enemies Are Down -- But They're Not Out
Social Security's adversaries are still out there. Republicans still embrace the economic austerity that has wounded Europe and hamstrung our own recovery. Democrats at the Summit kowtowed to their hosts' fiscal fixations. And the media personalities in attendance (were they paid?) offered chipper testimonials -- pitches, really -- for deficit reduction.
Sunday, June 5, 2016(5 comments)
Muhammad Ali Speaks to the Activist Soul
Muhammad Ali never claimed to be political. His activism wasn't a career choice. When he spoke out on civil rights, when he refused the draft, he was being true to his deepest ethical core. "I don't have to be what you want me to be," he said. "I'm free to be what I want."