Posts by Nick Cassella

Daily Clips: April 13th, 2016

Daily Clips: April 13th, 2016

The future of Bernie Sanders’ grassroots army:  Bernie has lit a progressive fire in this country that will not burn out anytime soon. How will he continue to mobilize his supporters after this election? Paul Ryan isn’t a moderate alternative to Donald Trump. He’s not moderate at all. Should feminism be about political solidarity?  An interesting and thought provoking read. North Carolina’s bathroom law just keeps backfiring on Pat McCrory: If this saga has gone terribly for McCrory, it’s been great for Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, who is trying to unseat the one-term governor. Cooper’s game plan to win in a socially conservative state like North Carolina had always been to attack McCrory on his job-creating record. Now, Cooper can claim he has tangible evidence to “prove” that the governor’s proposals are costing North Carolina residents jobs. And he can make the case that McCrory’s executive order is an admission that the law went too far while still hammering the governor on the law itself. (McCrory’s camp responded that the governor is making decisions “based on the best interests of the state and its citizens.”) Tweet of the day: Team Ryan raised half a million from Charles Koch and his wife. https://t.co/7Poh7Aq4jl — Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) April 13, 2016

Daily Clips: April 12th, 2016

Daily Clips: April 12th, 2016

David Brooks cannot connect the dots: David Brooks thinks that our politics has gone south because “starting just after World War II, America’s community/membership mind-set gave way to an individualistic/autonomy mind-set. The idea was that individuals should be liberated to live as they chose, so long as they didn’t interfere with the rights of others.” I don’t how you actually quantify such nonsense. That point aside, why doesn’t David Brooks in fact look at the economic structure of our society and how World War II exhibited a “community/membership mindset” because we had the most equal society in our nation’s history.  Consider this : The Depression and World War II dramatically reshaped the nation’s income distribution: By 1944 the top 1%’s share was down to 11.3%, while the bottom 90% were receiving 67.5%, levels that would remain more or less constant for the next three decades. Today, the 1%’s share is up to “22.5% of all pretax income, while the bottom 90%’s share is below 50% for the first time ever (49.6%, to be precise).” So Brooks has the nerve to moan about the “individualization” of our society, when in fact the party he’s been promoting his entire life has caused the societal disconnect he’s bi**hing about. By promoting economic policies that transfer a huge amount of the nation’s resources to the very top, Republicans like Brooks have dramatically reshaped the social fabric of America. It’s ridiculous that he can write this article with a straight face. And it shows once again why he is such a vastly overrated political thinker. Republicans haven’t stopped digging their hole with Latino voters:  In order to recapture the White House, Republicans will need to gather around 40-50 percent of the Latino vote. I wrote a similar article on Republican’s tall task last year . A guide to the 5 biggest revelations of the Panama Papers so far:  Good summary. Tweet of the day: McDonald's CEO calls higher wages "a job killer." Bro I think you'll be OK. https://t.co/8QfBqrsbix pic.twitter.com/zxHE6AjjJ0 — Hanna Brooks Olsen (@mshannabrooks) April 12, 2016  

Daily Clips: April 11th, 2016

Daily Clips: April 11th, 2016

It’s amazing what America could do with the money the rich hide overseas: In the United States, the Treasury would collect about $124 billion a year in additional taxes — $36 billion from individual taxpayers and $88 billion from multinational corporations — if it weren’t for such schemes, according to  estimates by Gabriel Zucman, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley. Ivanka and Eric Trump didn’t register in time to vote for their dad in New York:  Trump joked that he “might cut off their allowances.” Interestingly, New York State “has some of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation” — an honor I wouldn’t have expected for a liberal bastion. Get this: to vote in New York’s GOP primary, you would have had to register as a Republican by October 9th! Recent polls show that Trump may not need his kids to vote anyway. He is well beyond the reach of either of his rivals — a Fox News poll showed “that 54 percent of likely Republican voters support Trump, with 22 percent for Kasich and 15 percent for Cruz.” More GOP politicians have been arrested for sexual misconduct in bathrooms than trans people — “Obviously we need laws against senators using bathrooms, not trans people” There’s a widening gap in life expectancy between the rich and the poor:  Predictable. And it’s gotten worse over time. “Between 2001 and 2014 life expectancy increased by 2.3 years for men and 2.9 years for women in the top 5 percent of the income distribution, but increased by only. 0.3 years for men and 0.04 years for women in the bottom 5 percent.” Tweet of the day: Eric Bolling shows his ignorance on min wage: https://t.co/r29Jaz9MpM pic.twitter.com/PAgAb56Gec — Invictus (@TBPInvictus) April 10, 2016

Sorry Liberals, Education is not the Solution To Everything

Sorry Liberals, Education is not the Solution To Everything

I am one of those progressives who is adamant about the necessity of free public college. In a recent column , I warned that Hillary Clinton’s opposition to such a policy would end up “only hurting [her] own precious credibility on economic matters as well as the economic wellbeing of Americans.” The evidence bears out this claim. According to the National Center for Education Statistics , “in 2013 median earnings for young adults with a bachelor’s degree were $48,500, compared with $23,900 for those without a high school credential, $30,000 for those with a high school credential, and $37,500 for those with an associate’s degree.” Clearly, some form of postsecondary education helps increase the earnings of Americans. That would suggest it is a necessary step in an economy where wages are frustratingly stagnant. My clear-eyed solution to this matter was giving a dose of reality while reading Thomas Frank’s Listen, Liberal . In this fantastic book, Frank (a big liberal himself) argues that, “to the liberal class, every big economic problem is really an education problem, a failure by the losers to learn the right skills and get the credentials everyone knows you’ll need in the society of the future.” He cites a bevy of influential liberal thinkers who attest to these privileged beliefs, including Thomas Friedman — a thinker who has greatly influenced me on educational policy. In this instance, Friedman is quoted as saying, “improving educational outcomes for more young people is now the most important lever for increasing economic growth and narrowing income inequality.” Frank highlights how education is the source of economic prosperity for liberals. It “is a fixed idea,” he argues, “as open to evidence-based refutation as creationism is to fundamentalists: if poor people want to stop being poor, poor people must go to college.” What’s peculiar about this position is that it’s not “really an answer at all; it’s a moral judgment, handed down by the successful from
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Daily Clips: April 8th, 2016

Daily Clips: April 8th, 2016

Obama pursued transformation as GOP chose self-destruction:  While at first glance this headline seems to be rather editorialized, Fareed Zakaria’s  take on the state of US politics is remarkably honest. First, he lays out why he thinks Obama has succeeded at being a “transformational president”: 1. He saved the economy. 2. He created health care, where now 90 percent of Americans are covered. 3. He helped transform US energy policy. He gives this example: “solar costs have plummeted by 70 percent and solar generation is up 3,000 percent.” 4. Obama has pursued a limited foreign policy that curtails “US involvement in establishing political order in the Middle East, focusing instead on counterterrorism.” For the most part, I agree with Zakaria’s praise. It’s a very good article which I’d highly recommend. Pope says weapons manufacturers can’t call themselves Christian:  I guess you can rape children and still be Christian, however. A Republican judge’s ruling threatens a key pillar of post-crisis financial regulation: Great read on the GOP’s blind hatred of financial regulations. Tweet of the day: 54% of people murdered with guns in 2010 were under the age of 30: https://t.co/6odZ9psgQl — American Progress (@amprog) April 8, 2016

Daily Clips: April 7th, 2016

Daily Clips: April 7th, 2016

/r/politics needs to be renamed to /r/sanders. Seriously.  Police fatally shoot unarmed black men at disproportionate rates, study finds :  Black men accounted for about 40 percent of the unarmed people fatally shot by police and when adjusted by population were seven times as likely as unarmed white men to die from police gunfire, The Post found. Why Republicans cry political correctness: Dressing up bigotry and authoritarianism as truth-telling is the right wing’s favorite talking point. Their false victimization is so nauseating. Tweet of the day: Rand Paul: I'll support Trump if he's the nominee. https://t.co/E8UKdke5tw Because fascism = liberty. — Bruce Bartlett (@BruceBartlett) April 1, 2016

#SaveYourSavings Shows That Democrats Are Clueless on Millennials, Too

#SaveYourSavings Shows That Democrats Are Clueless on Millennials, Too

You may have missed it this morning, but  #SaveYourSavings was trending on Twitter. It was coordinated by the Department of Labor, and various Democratic leaders like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker helped promote the cause. Glad to be here w/ @LaborSec & @CoryBooker to talk about @USDOL ’s new conflict of interest rule! #SaveYourSavings pic.twitter.com/2vkIzKYk6Y — Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) April 6, 2016 According to NPR , the hashtag was created to celebrate the Labor Department’s unveiling of a new rule “imposing limits on how financial advisers and brokers may offer advice to people saving for retirement.” That’s a worthy cause. In fact, the hashtag would be worthwhile even if it just called attention to the dismal level of savings in our country. If you can believe it, most Americans have less than $1,000 in savings  right now. That’s truly awful for our citizens and our economy. However, while promoting this noble cause via Twitter, Booker and Warren displayed some real tone-deafness when it comes to my generation’s economic plight. First off, Warren provided an eye-opening reminder to millennials: Remember: Paying off your student loans & getting out of debt is an investment in your future too. #SaveYourSavings — Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) April 6, 2016 That’s her fix?! And this is supposed to be our nation’s revolutionary progressive?! But it gets worse. See this exchange between Cory Booker and a millennial: What steps should millennials take now in order to prepare for a better future? #SaveYourSavings — Corrina (@Tailoring_Ri) April 6, 2016 Start saving now. Just a few $$$ a day (skip the coffee). Over decades it'll add up to thousands #SaveYourSavings https://t.co/ZYikX8MTJM — Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) April 6, 2016 What a condescending “solution,” for a couple of reasons. 1) Urging millennials to spend less unfortunately takes money out of the economy — something which is desperately needed when consumption accounts for 70% of GDP and 2) it’s not even really a solution. These statements are akin to  Jeb’s widely panned statement that Americans who aren’t earning enough “need to work
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Daily Clips: April 6th, 2016

Daily Clips: April 6th, 2016

The gig economy is powered by old people:  Here at Skunk Works we are fascinated with the promise and the perils of the gig economy. If you don’t know our opinions on the matter, you should listen to our podcast episode on the subject  — it gives a great overview. Today, Bloomberg View highlighted a recent study by Lawrence F. Katz and Alan Krueger which finds, among other things, that the growth of the gig economy is actually “being driven not so much by struggling millennials lining up gigs online as by 60-year-olds working as independent contractors.” What’s unclear, they say, “is whether they’re doing this because they’re semi-retired and value freedom and flexibility, or because they’ve been downsized out of a full-time, full-benefit job and have to settle for contract work.” Are robots job creators?   Two schools of economic thinking have for many years been engaged in a debate about the potential effects of automation on jobs, employment and human activity: Will new technology spawn mass unemployment, as the robots take jobs away from humans? Or will the jobs robots take over release or unveil—or even create—demand for new human jobs? When the poor move, do they move up? …the federal government still does very little to incentivize racially and economically integrated neighborhoods—chiefly because of the political peril involved, but also because scholars and housing experts have failed to resolve whether promoting integrated neighborhoods would even be desirable or beneficial. A wave of new research, however, is helping to settle the experts’ debate, and may pave the way to fulfilling the Fair Housing Act’s original promise. Tweet of the day: 78% support. Among business owners. For secure scheduling. According to a Republican pollster. https://t.co/Wz8PxNJp08 — Working Washington (@workingwa) April 6, 2016

Daily Clips: April 5th, 2016

Daily Clips: April 5th, 2016

Why did the CDC stop researching gun violence? The failure of the CDC to invest in studies of gun violence has greatly inhibited the ability of social scientists, law enforcement agencies, and policymakers to understand the scope and causes of shootings — while also limiting understanding of interventions that might save lives… Today, less than  $5 million is spent each year on gun studies. A single HIV or cancer study can cost twice as much… Frieden [the CDC’s Director], who declined an interview for this story, has faced public criticism for not addressing— or even acknowledging —gun violence as a public health issue. Low-skilled immigrants are good for the working class:  Noah Smith points out that “new research shows that low-skilled immigrants may do a lot more for the native-born working class than we thought.” David Brooks writes another awful article: When I went to go see David Brooks speak in Seattle last month , he told the crowd that he usually consults “200 to 300 pages of research” for his columns. Think of this claim as you read his latest work: Odder still, people are often plagued by a sense of powerlessness, a loss of efficacy. The liberation of the individual was supposed to lead to mass empowerment. But it turns out that people can effectively pursue their goals only when they know who they are — when they have firm identities. Strong identities can come only when people are embedded in a rich social fabric. They can come only when we have defined social roles — father, plumber, Little League coach. They can come only when we are seen and admired by our neighbors and loved ones in a certain way. As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, “Other men are lenses through which we read our own minds.” If this is the payoff he is getting from hundreds of pages of research, then I think Brooks needs to rethink his approach. Tweet of the day: #Same pic.twitter.com/H1h3aEUtOy — MoveOn.org (@MoveOn)
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Daily Clips: April 4th, 2016

Daily Clips: April 4th, 2016

Panama Papers:  If we had to look at “meta-narratives” which surround the 2010s, then economic and social inequality would have to be top candidates. After Piketty stirred the conversation with “Capital” and Nick Hanauer warned of “ pitchforks “, the Panama Papers have entered the public conversation. What exactly are the Panama Papers? They are “a massive document link” which “reveals a global web of corruption and tax avoidance.” As always, Matthew Yglesias at Vox explains it best: Here are a few of the highlights the team found, with links to the full stories where you can read the details: Vladimir Putin’s inner circle appears to control about $2 billion worth of offshore assets. The prime minister of Iceland secretly owned the debt of failed Icelandic banks  while he was involved in political negotiations over their fate. The family of Pakistan’s prime minister owns millions of dollars’ worth of real estate via offshore accounts. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko pledged to sell his Ukrainian business interests during his campaign, but appears instead to have transferred them to an offshore company he controls . Climate change puts trillions of dollars of financial assets at risk:  Unsurprising. What’s the right minimum wage?   But in the policy debate, it is the job loss argument that overwhelmingly dominates. On this score, minimum wage advocates have been helped by the facts—the best research now shows that large hikes in the local statutory wage floor has no discernible effect on employment. Many jobs that fail to pay a living wage reflect the collapse of worker bargaining power over the course of the last four decades. The evidence speaks loudly: Forced to pay higher wages, employers find ways to adjust, through productivity gains, lower worker turnover, lower wage increases for higher wage workers, price increases that have little effect on consumer demand, and even reduced profit margins. Above all, a necessary condition for stronger worker bargaining power in the absence of collective bargaining is a strong macroeconomy. With sufficient time to adjust, jobs that cannot pay a minimally decent wage should be driven out of the labor market. Tweet
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