Tag Archive: Progressive Populism

Aug 16 2012

Is the Ryan Pick doubling down on Voter Suppression?

Burning the Midnight Oil for Progressive Populism

crossposted from Voices on the Square

Lots of puzzling around about Romney tapping Ryan for Vice President. Lots of coverage of nervous Republicans down-ballot: People’s World: Republicans fear Ryan pick could sink GOP.

Now, for inside baseball politics at the national level, I get nothing that can’t be picked up by following the right people on twitter. However, I was thinking … is it likely Romney picked Ryan without his campaign running the numbers? Maybe is there’s something in the numbers that led them to pick Ryan, then I’ve got a shot of seeing tha footprints of that for myself.

When I want horse race numbers, I go to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, taken into the NYT system last year. Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to subsidize the unthinking stenography on economics and energy and transport that we normally think of when we think “New York Times” to get access to horse race info, but luckily the main blog is a teaser sitting outside the NYT paywall.

So, what tale do the numbers tell? Join me, below the break.

Sep 11 2011

Whether and How to Sell the Jobs Policy

Burning the Midnight Oil for Progressive Populism

First off, the thing to do with the BS about gutting the safety net on the excuse that the Take Everything Away Party wants to kill it is to take the idea of gutting the safety programs behind the farmhouse to the mint bed and apply a sharp ax.

How to do that, I don’t know.

But if it can be done, then there’s still the question of whether and how to sell the “Jobs Policy”

In a Nutshell

Without the specifics, the broad outline (pdf) of the policy is about $240b in tax cuts and $200b in spending. Of the $200b in spending, about $50b is unemployment insurance extension, which is maintaining what we presently have, and $35b is offsetting state and local cuts in teacher and first responder employment, so about $115b in new spending stimulus.

Economically, the alternative is not status quo, the alternative is ongoing cuts, so you could argue that its a useful $200b increase in spending in economic terms ~ but in political terms, “it could have been worse” is a sharp an argument as a plastic knife, so I’ll count it as $115b in stimulus.

Can that work? Well, it depends on what you mean by work. To the extent that the $115b in spending can be done over the next year, it is more “Stimulus” than we had last year, and almost as much as we had in the Fiscal Year from October 2009 to September 2010 ~ when unemployment did, in fact, noticably decline.

So in terms of “will unemployment noticeably decline?” as working (as low a bar as that may be), yes, it’s likely to work.

Over the long haul, if that worth the promised future spending cuts over the next decade to “pay for” the payroll tax cuts that will have such weak effect? …

… well, that’s the question.

In policy terms, we need employment now. When we set the damage to be done in the future against whatever fights we lose in the future based on the “baseline” including absurd cuts …. against the damage that will be done by a second recession if we allow the economy to continue heading into a second recession … the recession is more total damage.

And in political terms, I was here in Ohio when Governor Strickland was facing re-election against a heavily corporate backed and heavily attacked for his corporate background rival, and the heavy attacks on his corporate background had a serious impact … but Kasich still won by 2%. If the economy slips into a recession next year, the Citizen’s United money is going to get that to use to continue attacking the half measures taken in 2009, and could quite conceivably lay the foundation for policies that extend the current Depression into something to rival the Great Depression.

Fighting to preserve the safety net is complex enough: I argue for simplifying everything else.

But HOW to support the Jobs Bill

The problem is, based on past performance, we would expect the Obama administration to cave on the useful parts of the Job Bill and accept a “compromise” consisting of only the useless parts. After all, the Republicans would happily accept the useless parts, as advancing their interests while still tilting the playing field to their advantage as they choose between nominating a bad candidate or several worse ones.

So support needs to be both simple, and to be support for the spending plus tax cuts as a package deal.

I reckon the message is:

The real job creators are customers. All the tax cuts in the world are useless unless businesses have orders to fill. Pulling out the spending makes the tax cuts useless, so no spending, no jobs. And no jobs, no deal.

No spending, no jobs. And no jobs, no deal.

Aug 09 2011

Fusion Tickets: why US 3rd Parties once worked, and why they stopped.

Burning the Midnight Oil for Progressive Populism

We in the US take the two party system for granted, but a two party system is not normal among advanced industrial countries. And, in our history, we used to have a lot more third parties with a lot more impact on our political system in the US. What happened?

This diary is one of a series that was originally published as single, long, sprawling diary.

For most of its political history to the late 1800’s, the US was either dominated by one or two political parties. The (extra-constitutional) winner take all electoral college system and the winner take all nature of a state legislature selecting the state’s Senator strongly pushed in that direction.

But alongside this was a political institution that allowed third parties to emerge and compete for influence ~ and indeed, the Great Re-Alignment from the Democrats and the Whigs to the Republicans and the Democrats occured in part thanks to the existence of third parties that were available to merge with the Anti-Slavery Whigs once they had been purged from the Whig Party.

How did this system work, and where did it go?

Aug 06 2011

The insider/outsider Response to the Debt Ceiling Cave-In

Burning the Midnight Oil for Progressive Populism

The Story So Far (imagine a Star Wars Scroll):

Under normal conditions, the primary political parties are representatives of distinct interest groups within the status quo. Democracy, after all, is allowing the citizens of the country to choose winners and losers among the elite, rather than having that choice performed by military might, accident of birth, or etc.

For most of its political history to the late 1800’s, the US was either dominated by one or two political parties. The (extra-constitutional) winner take all electoral college system and the winner take all nature of a state legislature selecting the state’s Senator strongly pushed in that direction.

And with business interests always falling on distinct sides of important issues of the day, that meant that political interests have long been distributed among the rival claimants for power or the natural party of government and natural party of (regional) opposition.

But alongside this was a political institution that allowed third parties to emerge and compete for influence ~ and indeed, the Great Re-Alignment from the Democrats and the Whigs to the Republicans and the Democrats occured in part thanks to the existence of third parties that were available to merge with the Anti-Slavery Whigs once they had been purged from the Whig Party. So in the late 1800’s …

Jul 28 2011

Progressivism in the New Gilded Age

Burning the Midnight Oil for Progressive Populism

The “Progressive Era” was not so named because it was an era in which Great Progress was automatic, or effortless. It was so named because it was an era where Income Inequality was high, even by US historical standards, and extraordinarily high by the standard of the Great American Middle Class Era of the 1940’s to 1970’s …

… and that meant that winning Progress that went against the vested interests was very hard, and required long, determined fights against a torrent of money deployed to oppose its progress.

Indeed, one of the fruits of the Progressive Era victories was to eliminate Progressivism as a distinct political force. But now the enemies of the Square Deal, New Deal and Great Society have rebuilt a Gilded Age, and we need it once more.

Progressivism, however, while necessary, is not sufficient on its own.