Posts by Nick Cassella

Daily Clips: March 30th, 2016

Daily Clips: March 30th, 2016

ACA’s newest policy holders are sicker and costlier : Good thing they have health care now. Kansas tried tax cuts. Its neighbor didn’t. Guess which one worked?  As many of you know, Kansas Governor Brownback is big a trickle down proponent. After he promised 25,000 jobs a year after enacting extensive tax cuts, “Kansas actually lost 5,400 jobs over the 12 months ending in February.” Vermont could change the marijuana legalization movement:  Up until now, all of the states which have legalized marijuana have done so via the ballot. Vermont is looking like it could be the first state to buck this trend. Here are some interesting differences between Vermont’s approach and Washington State: There are a few other ways Vermont’s bill stands out: After watching Colorado struggle with how to regulate edibles, Vermont won’t be legalizing those at all. Lawmakers also resisted marijuana advocates’ lobbying to allow people to grow marijuana plants in their own homes. And if you want to invest in one of Vermont’s marijuana stores, you’ll have to move to the state and become a resident; no out-of-state funding is allowed. Tweet of the day: POLL: Half of Americans Support Proposed Islamophobic Policies https://t.co/rqYvZOo07T pic.twitter.com/nJWQS1Dado — Colorlines.com (@Colorlines) March 30, 2016

Say What? Trump Criticizes Scott Walker for NOT Raising Taxes

Say What? Trump Criticizes Scott Walker for NOT Raising Taxes

If you would have sat me down a year ago and told me that the Republican frontrunner for president would be lambasting another Republican for not raising taxes, well, I would have questioned your political acumen. Yet here’s a headline I awoke to : Yes, this is actually happening. The very party that told you that raising taxes was a confirmed “job killer” is now under the sway of a man who is deriding others for not raising taxes enough. Here’s what the frontrunner had to say about Walker’s trickle-down tenure in full: There’s a $2.2bn deficit and the schools were going begging and everything was going begging because he didn’t want to raise taxes ’cause he was going to run for president. So instead of raising taxes, he cut back on schools, he cut back on highways, he cut back on a lot of things … So what does this mean for the future of trickle down economics? Before I get into that, let me first define what I mean by trickle down. This is how we define it here at Civic Skunk Works: Trump’s criticism, therefore, signals that it is no longer popular for a Republican presidential candidate to openly run on the first aspect of a trickle down economic platform. (Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for #2 and #3.) Certainly, Trump is still intending to perpetuate obscene tax cuts for the rich , but he’s just not telling people about it. As a member of the one percent, he clearly has a vested interest in continuing favorable tax rates for the wealthy. However, he’s not dumb enough to actually be caught peddling this stuff during an era of pitchforks. After all, it’s tough to sell tax cuts for the rich when over 60 percent of Americans believe we are still in a recession . Just ask Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush. So Trump has repackaged the platform—and done so brilliantly. Nick Hanauer and Nicholas Confessore have both recently identified this sleight of hand
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Daily Clips: March 29th, 2016

Daily Clips: March 29th, 2016

A narrow escape for public-sector unions:  As Goldy said this morning, “God works in mysterious ways.” Indeed He does. Due to Scalia’s death earlier this year, the US Supreme Court split 4-4 in Friedrichs v. CTA. This tied thwarted “a legal challenge that labor activists feared would deal a crippling blow to public-sector unions throughout the country.” “The Other Washington” gets a great review:  As our avid readers know, here at Civic Skunk Works we’ve started a new podcast series, “ The Other Washington .” Listen to these kind words we received from The Billfold! The Other Washington is the podcast arm of Seattle’s Civic Ventures , and I’m going to recommend it if you don’t live in Washington State because I think you’ll identify with much of what’s being discussed. Why aren’t campaign ads working? It’s a topic that Paul Constant has touched on befo re . Clearly, the logic behind political ads has utterly failed during this campaign cycle. Could it be because of the rise of social media? It’s an interesting explanation brought up by this Atlantic video. Tweet of the day: On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton still has solid lead over Bernie Sanders nationally at 54/36: https://t.co/XUfT2LTmLX — PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) March 29, 2016  

Hillary Clinton Refuses to Evolve on Marijuana

Hillary Clinton Refuses to Evolve on Marijuana

Hillary Clinton is a self-confessed pragmatic progressive . In everyday parlance, that means she’s the type of person that likes to dip her toe in the pool before jumping in. There’s a lot to admire in a deliberative person like that. There’s also a lot to despise in someone that uses “pragmatism” to veil their political cowardice. Unfortunately, Clinton continues to exhibit the latter when talking about marijuana. This is what she had to say on the subject last week on Jimmy Kimmel Live : What the states are doing right now needs to be supported. And I absolutely support all the states that are moving toward medical marijuana, moving toward absolutely legalizing it for recreational use. But I want to see what the states learn from that experience, because there are still a lot of questions we still have to answer on the federal level. There’s some great evidence about what marijuana can do for people who are in cancer treatment, who have other kinds of chronic diseases, who are suffering from intense pain… I’m accepting information from everybody. At the risk of mansplaining to the Secretary of State , here is some information which illustrates why she should reconsider her hesitant position on marijuana legalization: American support for legalizing marijuana has hit a record high (61 percent) 77 percent of Democrat and 63 percent of Republican millennials support legalizing the drug From 2013-2019, $20 billion will be spent by states on enforcing overly punitive marijuana laws A marijuana-related arrest is made every 42 seconds in the US   (Perhaps that’s why we have the largest prison population in the entire world? Going out on a limb there.) Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana Supporting legalization could tick the following political boxes then for Clinton: Energize young people to vote for her. Which is something she could use going into the general election, as right now she only enjoys  37 percent of Democratic millennial support . She needs to give young people a reason to show up and vote for her – beyond telling them that they can refinance their student loans from 8% to 4%. YES WE CAN! Cut down on a huge amount of unnecessary public money on the drug war Confront racial injustice head on
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Daily Clips: March 28th, 2016

Daily Clips: March 28th, 2016

California raises minimum wage to $15: The west coast of the United States is now one contiguous area with higher minimum wages. Somewhere, Tim Worstall is freaking out. Oregon and (hopefully) California were able to reach agreements through the legislature, whereas it looks like Washington will have to take a higher minimum wage to the ballot in 2016. Not only is this huge news for the many low-wage workers in California, it’s also big news for those wanting to study the effects of the minimum wage. In the next decade, economists will be able to look at the west coast of America and see if the minimum wage *actually* killed our jobs and economies. Something tells me it won’t. Call it a hunch. How the GOP elite lost its voters to Donald Trump:  A long and thorough piece by Nicholas Confessore. I would highly recommend reading it if you have ten minutes to spare. He takes a deep dive into why Republicans didn’t see Trump’s rise coming. His conclusions in TL;DR format? The GOP became the party of the economic elite, ran on trickle down policies (tax cuts, deregulation, and wage suppression for 90% of the country) and thus alienated their working class base. The myth of the Reagan Democrat:  Reagan Democrats is the new buzz term used by pundits in order to justify Trump’s chances to take the White House. As human megaphone Chris Matthews put it in January, “I think there’s a lot of Reagan Democrats waiting to vote for him.” What’s interesting, however, is that “Reagan Democrats” (that being Northern blue-collar whites) will only constitute roughly a third of the electorate in 2016. In fact, “a new Center for American Progress report…notes that in the classic “Reagan Democrat” states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, blue-collar-whites’ share of the electorate will shrink two percentage points between 2012 and 2016 alone.” Time to transform Bernie’s campaign into a permanent organization: There has rarely been a better opportunity to create and build a permanent,
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Daily Clips: March 25th, 2016

Daily Clips: March 25th, 2016

This is what political revolution really looks like:   “To refocus our political system on the people, we need a sustained effort to revitalize our democracy. We need to significantly expand participation.” Polls suggest that Trump is the worst, not the best, general election candidate for Republicans:  Donald Trump loves to repeat that he would beat Hillary Clinton in a general election, but does the data back up that claim? The answer is no. In fact, “both Clinton and Sanders are starting to beat Trump by a lot. The reply from Trump fans is predictable…Trump will turn out more independents and Democrats! they’ll say. Whether those fans know it or not, that argument hinges on the idea that the turnout in November will be hard to predict and that current pollster modelling is wrong. But it’s worth remembering that these polls include Democrats and independents that Trump will supposedly woo.” Consumers prop up US economy, but profits under pressure : “U.S. economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter, but not as sharply as previously estimated, with fairly strong consumer spending offsetting the drag from efforts by businesses to reduce an inventory overhang.” Tweet of the day: "How did we end up with Trump?" asks party who insinuated for 8 years that Barack Obama was secretly pursuing a plot to destroy America. — Michael Linden (@MichaelSLinden) March 25, 2016  

NEW PODCAST EPISODE: Secure Scheduling

NEW PODCAST EPISODE: Secure Scheduling

Scheduling practices today are frankly appalling. Employees are given schedules which make it impossible to plan for the most basic elements of daily life – whether it’s child care, a dentist appointment, or family dinner. That’s why we here at Civic Skunk Works recorded an episode devoted to secure scheduling. Seattle led the nation on the $15 minimum wage, and now we’re leading the nation when it comes to protecting a worker’s right to secure scheduling. Tune in to the newest episode of The Other Washington and tell us what you think!

Daily Clips: March 23rd, 2016

Daily Clips: March 23rd, 2016

Jeb Bush endorses Ted Cruz: In order to stop Donald Trump and his “divisiveness and vulgarity,” Jeb has thrown his support behind a candidate that responded to yesterday’s Brussels attack by calling for police to “patrol and secure” Muslim neighborhoods . Here, we see how epically screwed the Republican Party is today. As Vox’s Dylan Matthews notes : The fact that Republican elites like Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney , and Lindsey Graham are all lining up behind a candidate who wants to harass Muslim Americans on the basis of their religion, and whose advisers are a murderer’s row of the worst anti-Muslim bigots in America, tells us something about exactly why Donald Trump has become so anathema to establishment conservatives. Bernie Sanders is coming back for another rally in Seattle this Friday: How does he keep up with his schedule at this age? Very impressive. Admission is first come, first served at Safeco field. Doors open at 4pm. How can the US make work less draining for its workers? According to one recent OECD survey, the United States ranked 29th out of 36 countries for “work-life balance,” a comparison of hours worked versus hours devoted to leisure. In most cases, the brunt of this brutal load falls harder on women, who still do the bulk of housework and may find careers, particularly those with the most financial and personal rewards, impossible to sustain . Tweet of the day: Lyin' Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a G.Q. shoot in his ad. Be careful, Lyin' Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2016

The World Is Leaving David Brooks Behind

The World Is Leaving David Brooks Behind

When David Brooks began to stipulate the “four levels of happiness,” I knew I was in for a night of groundless moral assumptions. Like his columns in The New York Times, Brooks overworked words like “soul” and “spirituality,” yet the elderly crowd at Seattle’s Temple de Hirsch lapped it up by nodding their gray (or bald) heads. Their welcoming of vague moral language allowed him the space to claim: Humans are “loving creatures, not thinking creatures” We need to aim for “spiritual achievements” in life Social media leads to “moral insecurity” The last bulls*** point there highlights a prominent theme that arose from Brooks’ speech: disparagement towards youth. And as a young man, it was very disheartening to hear—especially seeing as I grew up listening to Shields and Brooks on the PBS News Hour. Although I’ve come to disagree with many of his political philosophies, Brooks played an integral role in stoking my initial interest in politics. So it was difficult to hear him speak of my generation’s main social platforms (and my profession) in such discrediting tones. For baby boomers, I imagine it to be like when your grandparents told you that television was making you stupid—a criticism that came from nowhere but a lack of empathy and understanding. Following on from social media, Brooks bemoaned how we now “live in an individualist society.” (This coming from a man who subscribes to a political philosophy whose foundation rests upon the idolization of the individual.) This state of selfishness, he figured, meant that “millennials are on pace for the biggest mid-life crisis ever.” He never expanded upon this trite point, but it drew hearty laughter from the older crowd which filled the temple. So I suppose it achieved its purpose. Mercilessly, Brooks went onto complain about the dire state of free speech on college campuses and how my generation simply cannot stomach dissenting opinions.
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Daily Clips: March 22nd, 2016

Daily Clips: March 22nd, 2016

Trump backs tougher border security, waterboarding after Brussel’s attacks: This is how an authoritarian slowly strips away your rights all in the name of “protection.” Stop associating Adam Smith with free market economics:  In my final year at St Andrews University I spent the majority of my time studying Smith and his moral philosophy. My dissertation focused on his virtue of “prudence,” and I came to discover that Smith went at great pains to propose a moral philosophy which was not based solely upon self-interest. Yet here we are hundreds of years later and Adam Smith is far too often held up as a beacon of free-market ideology. And that’s simply based upon a bastardization of his work. Either his advocates didn’t read his Theory of Moral Sentiments (a work he thought superior to his more famous, The Wealth of Nations) or they’re just cherry-picking points they like. Either way, his free market advocates are wrong to invoke him. Nixon official confirms that drug was was created in order to criminalize black people: At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. ‘You want to know what this was really all about?’ he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. ‘The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of
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