In What Then Must We Do?, political economy professor Gar Alperovitz slowly and deliberately nudges readers off the traditional course of political activism assumed to bring about progressive change – elections, legislative fights, protest actions, firing the twin engines of grassroots Democratic groups and organized labor – arguing that these methods have failed. He finds readers at that moment of despair, when the best efforts we’ve known to create the space for change have failed. Indeed, he doesn’t believe that these efforts can reverse what is now a decades-long march of structural economic, environmental and political decline. “Absent major national shocks,” he writes, “the capacity for fundamental political change is limited in the American context.”
|By: David Dayen Sunday May 12, 2013 1:59 pm|
|By: David Dayen Saturday December 22, 2012 11:03 am|
I was racking my brain for one final story that sums up this era in politics, the state of our world circa 2012, and I have to give it to this one from a few days ago.
William Bryan Jennings, whose parents obviously hoped for a Progressive populist reformer as a child, grew up to work at Morgan Stanley, and acquire all the sense of entitlement and douchebaggery that goes along with such an occupation (I believe they give that to you at the same time as your parking space). One year ago to the day, on December 21, 2011, Jennings left a Christmas party in New York City, and his town car didn’t show up (#richwhitepeopleproblems). So he hailed a cab to take him to his home in Darien, Connecticut. When he got home, Jennings decided to treat the cab ride like a buyout deal, and trying to negotiate down for a lower fare. This is an executive at Morgan Stanley who didn’t want to pay full fare to get home. The cabbie asked for $204 (Jennings said it was $294). Jennings offered $50 (good negotiating ploy; start low!). At this point I should mention that Jennings makes around $3 million a year.
|By: David Dayen Friday December 21, 2012 5:51 pm|
Let’s just stipulate something for the record. If the Congressional Budget Office were asked to step in and score John Boehner’s “Plan B,” it would score as an increase to the deficit by about $4.9 trillion over ten yeas. If CBO scored the Obama plan, it would score as an increase to the deficit by about $4.1 trillion over ten years. That’s because current law dictates that America goes over the cliff and stays there. It doesn’t contemplate any changes to the law. And if America went over this cliff, the resulting austerity would be so great that it would swing the economy into recession. It would also virtually wipe out the long-term deficit gap, even while it would probably increase it a bit in the near term, because of increases in automatic stabilizers. But over the long-term, the deficit would essentially be wiped out.
|By: David Dayen Friday December 21, 2012 1:51 pm|
It is with a heavy heart that I wrap up these eight-plus years of writing things on the Internet. The concurrence between my last day and the end of the Mayan calendar, by the way, is purely coincidental; I do think there will be news after today, and most likely people covering it (anyway, the whole world-ending thing is a great big misunderstanding, I guess). Anyway, there are a lot of people who deserve to be mentioned.
|By: David Dayen Friday December 21, 2012 1:33 pm|
So Democrats have reached the bargaining phase of the fiscal slope debacle. It’s hard to say whether they’re pushing this because they think they have an opportunity to avoid the austerity bomb or because they know they have no partner on the other side, but either way, the result is the Democratic leadership, at least in the House, taking control of a plan that would, among other things, cut Social Security benefits as well as benefits for any of the 50 federal programs with a cost of living adjustment or income-based eligibility standard, and begging John Boehner to work with them to pass it.
|By: David Dayen Friday December 21, 2012 12:51 pm|
If there’s going to be reform to the Senate’s rules, it’s going to have to come from the Senate itself. That’s the implication of a ruling in federal court today throwing out a Constitutional challenge to the filibuster.
|By: David Dayen Friday December 21, 2012 10:56 am|
In a bizarre press conference, NRA Chairman Wayne LaPierre called for the immediate placement of armed guards in all public schools. This is classic “fighting the last war” thinking, along with a dash of “think of the children” policymaking.
|By: David Dayen Friday December 21, 2012 10:23 am|
Say what you will about the 2010 deal to extend the Bush tax cuts, which helped to set up what we’re seeing this month. But there was definitely a virtue in getting it done by early December, allowing for a productive lame duck session that repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, passed the New START arms reduction treaty, and several other measures. Because this entire lame duck has been consumed with fiscal slope negotiations, and really only the tax rate and social insurance part of it, bills that might have had a chance to pass through Congress if the pipeline were unclogged instead remain dormant. And unlike 2010, the bills in question in 2012 are more of the must-pass variety.
|By: David Dayen Friday December 21, 2012 9:42 am|
Former Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry will become the next nominee for Secretary of State, replacing Hillary Clinton and creating another Senate vacancy.
President Obama will formally announce the nomination today at the White House, according to sources. He is not expected to face much resistance in the Senate for confirmation. Kerry will likely recuse himself from the confirmation hearings, since they would take place at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which he chairs. But there’s no word on when or if Kerry will step down from the Senate, the timing of which triggers a series of vacancy laws in Massachusetts.
|By: David Dayen Friday December 21, 2012 8:16 am|
More than half of the loans Glenn Hubbard “studied” came from lenders being sued by other entities for fraud in their underwriting process.
It’s pretty incredible that Hubbard, an academic, thought he could throw this fastball by lawyers involved in MBS litigation for years and years. And it’s almost a shock that Countrywide got so little for their money.