Posts by Nick Cassella

Daily Clips: December 2, 2016

Daily Clips: December 2, 2016

Oregon claims success in attempt to expand voting access The Oregon law — the first “automatic voter registration” policy to be tested in an election — is notable for a subtle innovation: It is opt-out, not opt-in. Rather than ask eligible residents to take an action like checking a box to register to vote, residents are automatically registered when they apply for, renew or replace a drivers’ license, ID card or permit at the state Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division. Jobless rate fell to a nine-year low of 4.6 percent as the U.S. added 178,000 jobs in November Keith Ellison and the struggle for the Democratic Party Rising inequality means Estonia is ditching its flat tax Tweet of the day New CEA analysis finds State minimum wage increases since 2013 led to substantial wage gains for low-wage workers w. no impact on employment pic.twitter.com/XNlNklJXAe — Jason Furman (@CEAChair) December 2, 2016  

Daily Clips: December 1, 2016

Daily Clips: December 1, 2016

Democrats, skip the civil war A panicky abandonment of their core commitments is the last thing Democrats need. Far better advice comes from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who urges the party to re-engage with rural and small-town voters . So says EJ Dionne and I think he’s right, but I think in order to “re-engage with rural and small-town voters” they need to abandon their obsession with incrementalist, market-friendly policies. They need to “re-engage” by promoting a vision that isn’t so piecemeal. And that will require a dramatic shake up in the Democratic Party. Many of Trump’s supporters don’t think he’ll fix America Trump’s supporters don’t necessarily expect the world to get better. However, they are a lot happier about the United States than they were on November 7. Change was enough, it appears—at least for now. Donald Trump and the Indiana Carrier factory, explained Trump’s willingness to roll up his sleeves and get involved in the problems of one American community indicates an obsessive focus on boosting the fortunes of working-class Midwesterners — even as his administration’s big-picture policy focus remains on deregulating Wall Street, enacting an enormous tax cut for rich people, and slashing spending on assistance to the poor. Tweet of the day A tragedy in 4 acts pic.twitter.com/wwdmbXltGl — THE Bradley Geiser (@therealbradg) November 30, 2016

Daily Clips: November 30, 2016

Daily Clips: November 30, 2016

Democracies are unstable in the 21st century? Across numerous countries, including Australia, Britain, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States, the percentage of people who say it is “essential” to live in a democracy has plummeted, and it is especially low among younger generations. Nancy Pelosi re-elected to House Dem leader I just don’t get Pelosi’s appeal. Surely, now was the time to shake up the leadership of the Democratic Party? Steve Mnuchin named US Treasury secretary Mnuchin says his “No 1 priority is tax reform”. The corporate tax rate will be reduced from 35% to 15%. What a 21st-century safety net should look like Senator Mark Warner channels Nick Hanauer and David Rolf’s “ Shared Security System “. Tweet of the day Senate GOPers are coming to the growing consensus that it's going to take time to find a replacement for Obamacare https://t.co/9bZBsoabF6 pic.twitter.com/gNZ8WF8JdO — Talking Points Memo (@TPM) November 30, 2016

Daily Clips: November 29, 2016

Daily Clips: November 29, 2016

Podlodowski may challenge Ravens for State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski (a friend of Skunk Works) has said that she is “seriously considering” running for the Democratic state party chair position. Could Carl’s Jr CEO be the next labor secretary? Justin Miller over at American Prospect has a terrific piece on trickle-downer, Andy Puzder. The CEO is a vocal critic of any increase to the minimum wage. Florida sees killings increase after passage of “stand your ground” gun law It’s almost like if you give someone the permission to kill another, they will. US economy expanded at 3.2% rate Corporate profits also continued to rebound in the 3Q. We already live in a planned economy. Why not make it a democratic one? The development of finance reveals the progressive displacement of market coordination by planning. Capitalism means production for profit; but in concrete reality profit criteria are always subordinate to financial criteria. The judgment of the market has force only insofar as it is executed by finance. The world is full of businesses whose revenues exceed their costs, but are forced to scale back or shut down because of the financial claims against them. The world is also full of businesses that operate for years, or indefinitely, with costs in excess of their revenues, thanks to their access to finance. And the institutions that make these financing decisions do so based on their own subjective judgment, constrained ultimately not by some objective criteria of value, but by the terms set by the central bank.  

Why Do Kids Practice Sports And Not Politics?

Why Do Kids Practice Sports And Not Politics?

Humans often fail to understand that what we consider as “normal” is highly subjective. Our minds are crippled by the chains of circumstance and these bonds constrain us from analyzing the consequential assumptions we all make about our lives. Immanuel Kant once wrote: Enlightenment is man’s release from his self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man’s inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another. He was warning us that to live better we must not fall prey to assumptions made by others. So in honor of independent thinking, here’s a dearly held reality that I believe has handicapped America’s potential: we do not come close to preparing our citizens to be active participants in democracy. Said in another way, Americans live in a politically empty society. Just look at how we (subjectively) educate our youngest citizens. American parents prioritize practicing sports over practicing politics in a way that is peculiar. “ Sports are embedded in American schools in a way they are not almost anywhere else .” That quote is from an excellent piece by Amanda Ripley titled, “ The Case Against High-School Sports .” She found: When I surveyed about 200 former exchange students last year, in cooperation with an international exchange organization called AFS, nine out of 10 foreign students who had lived in the U.S. said that kids here cared more about sports than their peers back home did. A majority of Americans who’d studied abroad agreed. Face it: we live in a society where it is normal (even laudable) to train a child for basketball five times a week and abnormal (even puzzling) to train a child to be an active political citizen. This seems like an odd calculation to make. Culturally absurd, even. After all, the odds your
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Daily Clips: November 28, 2016

Daily Clips: November 28, 2016

Democrats have ways to check Trump  Spoiler: the list of ways to “check” Trump is depressingly tiny. The US media’s commercial nature is great for business, terrible for democracy Bereft of well-supported public outlets , the US media landscape stands out among liberal democracies for its acute commercialization. Can the US economy return to dynamic and inclusive growth? A laundry list of policy ideas to stimulate the US economy. The NRA is going on the offensive They feel they’ve achieved a mandate. And in a sense, they have. Dark times in America continue. Happy Birthday Friedrich Engels, born on this day in 1820. The materialist conception of history starts from the proposition that the production of the means to support human life and, next to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of all social structure; that in every society that has appeared in history, the manner in which wealth is distributed and society divided into classes or orders is dependent upon what is produced, how it is produced, and how the products are exchanged. From this point of view, the final causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought, not in our brains, not in our better insights into eternal truth and justice, but in changes in the modes of production and exchange.  

Daily Clips: November 22, 2016

Daily Clips: November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving, a celebration of inequality A fascinating read on secularism and those who have fought for Thanksgiving to be detached from religious overtones. Trump: US to quit TPP trade deal on first day in office I would have never guessed four years ago that trade would become a defining issue of 2016. To his credit, Trump looks to be following through on his campaign promise here. Though, what choice did he really have? Paul Ryan plans to phase out Medicare A scary future is on the horizon. Taking it to the states Katrina vanden Heuvel claims, “the rebuilding needs to happen from the bottom up, at the state and local level, not in Washington.”

Daily Clips: November 21, 2016

Daily Clips: November 21, 2016

Hard-working white people: you played yourself Having a race-baiting president will not — I repeat, will not — transform into any opportunities for hard-working whites in America, just like the Obama candidacy didn’t deliver any black person from the issues that African-Americans have been facing since long before I was born. Pope Francis indefinitely allows priests to absolve the sin of abortion Sure, under President Trump you may have to travel across state borders to get an abortion, but at least now you won’t simmer in Hell for the rest of eternity for doing so. Progress march on! Tech worker visas face uncertain future under Trump, Sessions H-1B visas admit 65,000 foreign workers and another 20,000 graduate student workers every year. The visas are assigned through a lottery, as they are extremely in-demand. Just last year companies filed 236,000 petitions for the 85,000 available visas. Trade after Trump The big problem facing workers, in the US and elsewhere, isn’t competition from immigrants, or from imported goods. It’s the fact that capital is freely mobile and unfettered by any social obligation. So, a profitable plant can be closed down if its owners get a better off elsewhere. Alternatively, the threat of a move can be used to bargain down wages. Video of the day

Daily Clips: November 18, 2016

Daily Clips: November 18, 2016

What are the similarities between the new right and new left in Western politics? A piece highlighted to our team by our prez, Zach Silk— I cannot recommend it enough. It’s a fantastic dissection into the global nature of Brexit, Trump, and France’s National Front. Mark Blyth’s greatest insight comes however in how he finds common traits between the left and right wing versions of “this phenomenon.” To the author, they all share these common denominators. These parties are: pro welfare, pro state, and anti-finance He continues: These parties of course have very different policy stances. The new right favors nationals over immigrants and has, at best, a rather casual relationship with the liberal understanding of human rights. The new left, in contrast, favors redistribution from top to bottom and inclusive rather than exclusionary growth policies. Are video games breeding an assassination generation? No, next question. What is Seattle’s biggest economic weak spot?  Jon Stewart on Donald Trump Tweet of the day Well played, @RickBaldwin pic.twitter.com/5l3t7HZTpP — Roben Farzad (@robenfarzad) November 18, 2016

The Journey to the White House Does Not Begin with Baby Steps

The Journey to the White House Does Not Begin with Baby Steps

During the Democratic primary, I was very much influenced by the thoughts and arguments of  Robert Cruickshank —a senior campaign manager at Democracy for America. Cruickshank was a Bernie supporter, while I backed Clinton, yet we both agreed that the Democratic Party must advance bold and dramatic policies that helped all Americans in order to be successful electorally. I supported Hillary Clinton because I thought she had the best chance to win. That said, I was very concerned with her penchant for gradual progressivism; particularly her inability to view higher education as a fundamental right  and not a market commodity. I worried that Clinton’s messaging was too narrow and specialized. Instead of altering the narrative behind why key policy choices should be pursued, Clinton was busy coming up with complex ideas that were viewed as bipartisan. It seemed as if she was petrified of rocking the boat in a moment where the boat was taking on water. In May, I warned against such tactics: By resting on their incrementalist laurels…Democrats could make an electoral mistake. If they preach gradual progressivism, then they could give Republicans an opening to become the party which offers the American people a transformative vision. Just today, the New York Times editorial board warned that Democrats must address how they have “ strayed at times from [their] more aspirational path .” Merely throwing lean bones to the dramatic-change camp will not cut it for Democrats going forward. Eventually they will have to address the “ broad vein of discontent ” that pulses through America today and calls for an overhaul. The American people wanted an overhaul and the Democrats gave them maintenance. It is easy to see why Hillary Clinton’s campaign took comfort in doing so. They analyzed the success of the 2012 Obama campaign which regressed from “hope” and “change” to “hold the line.” Barack and co were victorious in the end because 1) the Republican nominee wasn’t a change-heavy candidate and 2) we were only four years removed from the financial crisis, so
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