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By Rachel Goldfarb, originally published on Next New Deal

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An Incoherent Harper's Essay Suggests There's No Difference Between Obama and Republicans (TNR)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal responds to Adolph Reed's piece on the exhaustion of liberals, arguing that the issues that drive liberals and the outcomes they seek easily distinguish them from conservatives.

The Inequality Puzzle (TAP)

Robert Kuttner asks how it's possible that intergenerational economic mobility has remained flat over the past 30 years rather than declining, and whether that fact is really worth celebrating.

What Talent Shortage? The Great American Brain Waste of Our Captive Labor Market (Pacific Standard)

Jim Russell sees an easy solution to any lack of skilled labor: policies, at work and in politics, that are more supportive of the groups whose talents are being wasted, namely women and immigrants.

My Life as a Retail Worker: Nasty, Brutish, and Poor (The Atlantic)

Joseph Williams writes about his experiences working at a sporting goods store after losing his job in journalism. He got first-hand experience in retail's wage theft and surveillance practices.

New on Next New Deal

The Progressive Caucus Budget Makes the Right Decisions

The budget shows that the country can afford to properly invest in job creation and achieve faster growth, says Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Jeff Madrick, Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative.

Quits Won't Tell Us Anything About the True Unemployment Rate (Vacancy Chains 1/2)

Mike Konczal argues that the interesting data from the quits rate is already represented in wage growth and the number of job openings relative to unemployment. We should be watching that data anyway.


Originally posted to Daily Kos Economics on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 05:19 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Mike Konczal's "Left-wing naivete about right- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ratcityreprobate, PowWowPollock

    wing radicalism" offers a healthy corrective to Adolph Reed's piece.

    Recalling a 1940 New Republic editorial criticizing FDR & the New Deal-- “If the New Deal is to deserve our support in the future, it must not rest on what it has already done, great as that is, but tell us how it is going to finish the task"--Konczal observes that ", being disappointed in Democratic presidents is what opinion editors refer to as “evergreen” content. It’s always ready to go, and always applicable with a built-in audience."

    In particular, Konczal focuses on three points "that go[] beyond the current Democratic Party":

    Reed: “With the two parties converging in policy…”

    Konczal: This is the kind of stuff that drives liberals up the wall, and for good reason. The two parties at this point are pushing two very different, ideological visions of the role of the state and the market. ... Liberals see a greater role for the federal government, for instance in absorbing the costs of a major expansion of Medicaid. Conservatives want to turn everything over to the states where it will be easier to starve and replace with private control. These aren’t minor differences.

    ...  States taken over by conservatives have waged an all-out war on workers, reproductive health, and public goods. Meanwhile liberal states and cities have moved to expand paid sick-leave, minimum wages, and reproductive health. Even the so-called culture wars have a hard economic edge. Reed dismisses feminism as a set of fake cultural politics. Yet health-care reform has eliminated “woman” as a pre-existing condition, and minimum wage hikes, which disproportionately benefit women of color, and equal pay are in the forefront.

    Reed: “...what can it mean to be on the political left? The terms ‘left’ and ‘progressive’...now signify a cultural sensibility...The left has no particular place it wants to go.”

    Konczal: Inequality is shaping up to become the new focus of liberals.  ... I believe inequality will have legs. It has enough moral energy to coordinate political imaginations, yet it’s plastic enough to cover different elements like poverty and plutocracy, as well as values like economic freedom and security.

    * * *

    [H]ere Reed’s evocation of “the left” becomes problematic. Inequality as a political project will be a distinctly liberal project, focused on a mixed economy, social insurance, and the ways law and custom structure markets and distributions. These are not radical sentiments as the term is historically understood.

    Reed: “....the areas of fundamental disagreements that separate [the two parties] become too arcane and too remote from most people’s experience to inspire any commitment, much less popular action.”

    Konczal: No. Just a casual glance out the window shows that the differences in policy have created massive popular actions. From the Tea Party organizing against expanding access to health-care and efforts to fight the recession, to undocumented workers organizing to pass immigration reform, the actual differences in play get people on the street.

    Shalom v' salaam; peace and wholeness

    by another American on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 06:45:53 AM PDT

  •  On economics and trade, there is no difference (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard

    between Obama and the Republicans.

    On social issues, Obama is clearly better. And on labor issues, at least around the edges, Obama does throw a few bones (such as advocating a raise in the minimum wage, and undoing the Bush admin rules on overtime pay). But Obama continued with the onerous bankster bailouts started by his predecessor. Worse yet, his trade policies are no different than Clinton or Bush.

    And if that TPP passes, get ready to lose all local control--if a multinational corporation doesn't think you should have the right to breathe the air the Koch brothers think you should breathe. Hello, Beijing!

    And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

    by Pale Jenova on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:06:03 PM PDT

  •  Re: Your title... (0+ / 0-)

    ...a conscience. Empathy. Decency, etc.

    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

    by CanisMaximus on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:06:17 PM PDT

  •  We believe the earth, air, soil, water, time, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Jackson

    sunshine, opportunity, joy and harsdships belong to everyone equally.

     We believe social organizations and language are created by us to achieve a life more peaceful than wild animals' constant struggle to survive and eat each other, and

    We believe in the moral sense that all life is equally precious deserving of education, care, attention and dignity.

    Anything short of that is a return to the law of claw and fang, and is not worthy of a species which claims to be superior.

    I would bet a Conservative will disagree with every point on that list.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:08:07 PM PDT

  •  TNR: not that liberal. Hasn't been since mid-1970s (0+ / 0-)

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

    by lotlizard on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:25:32 PM PDT

  •  liberals & conservatives have one thing in common (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geez53

    they both sincerely see themselves as the good guys and the other as the bad guys

    it's probably the biggest reason why when it comes down to it, i can't self identify as a liberal and despite growing up conservative, never identified myself as conservative either

    i agree with liberals vastly more than with conservatives, but i stopped believing that beliefs determined who the good guys and bad guys are somewhere in my mid 20s

    having known many liberals and conservatives in my life, i am pretty damn certain that everyone lands somewhere in the nice person to asshole spectrum and politics isn't usually even a major factor in determining where

  •  Did the retail in college ...... (0+ / 0-)

    Can't/won't do it ever again. Don't have the patience to deal with people like me (and can't stand for 4 hours at a time).

    True story: was blamed for the metric system when i was trying to explain tire size options to "little-ole-lady" who already told me "I" was charging too much for something that was just going to wear out anyway.

    Wage theft, then, was more elaborate with Sears' commission vs draw formula. Draw was just-above-minimum wage and commission was standard % of personal sales, you get larger of two. Wasn't bad unless a customer returned a high ticket item in the next week when you got a draw. They'd deduct the % but not refund the associated payroll taxes from the previous week, so you could end the current week with less than m/w. Only happened to me once, but still a rip.

    21st Century America: The distracted, superficial perception of a virtual reality. Gettov Milawn

    by geez53 on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:50:41 PM PDT

  •  Free Research (0+ / 0-)

    "...Portion of taxpayer-funded research whose findings are not available to the public for free: 1/2..."

    Ummh, let's see.  Valuable stuff.  Atomic bomb plans.  How to cultivate Smallpox virus. How to break military codes. Not available for free.

    However, all the NIH material is now available for free.

    Restore the Fourth! Save America!

    by phillies on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:23:45 PM PDT

  •  Ideology Don't Pay the Rent (0+ / 0-)
    The two parties at this point are pushing two very different, ideological visions of the role of the state and the market. ...
    OK, while the "two" parties are figuring this all out, millions of people in our nation are still UNemployed, still UNDER-employed-- and congress isn't doing much about it.

    weak.

    "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

    by Superpole on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 03:30:12 AM PDT

  •  Private equity has strangled out entrepreneurship (0+ / 0-)

    No sole proprietorships make anything worthwhile anymore.....

    Just more do-dads, trinkets, and junk.....If something looks profitable....private equity swoops in, buys you out, and sends the work to China....

    What's the point of trying to do something big...game changing...!?!?  To make private equity billionares even richer...!?!?!?

    It's over...capitalism is dead...right next to the American dream..!!

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