"Former congressional staffers reveal best practices for making Congress listen" [Single Link Google Docs] A guide, based on the Tea Party playbook, on how to use the tools of government to resist the Trump agenda.
The economic geography of a universal basic income - "An underdiscussed virtue of a universal basic income is that it would counter geographic inequality even more powerfully than it blunts conventional income inequality. By a 'universal basic income', I mean the simple policy of having the Federal government cut periodic checks of identical dollar amounts to every adult citizen, wherever they may live. Importantly, a universal basic income would not be calibrated to the local cost of living. Residents of Manhattan would receive the same dollar amount as residents of Cleveland. But a dollar in Cleveland stretches much farther than the same dollar in Manhattan..." [more inside]
Kennedy was right - "Much that is valuable is neither tangible nor tradable... Gross domestic product (GDP) is increasingly a poor measure of prosperity. It is not even a reliable gauge of production."* [more inside]
Feminist economics deserves recognition - "In 2014 only 12% of American economics professors were female, and only one woman (Elinor Ostrom) has won the Nobel prize for economics.[1,2,3] But in terms of focus, economists have embraced some feminist causes. Papers abound on the 'pay gap' (American women earned 21% less than men for full-time work in 2014), and the extra growth that could be unlocked if only women worked and earned more. A recent paper, for instance, claimed that eliminating gender discrimination in Saudi Arabia could bring its GDP per person almost level with America's. (Feminists, of course, consider gender equality a worthy goal irrespective of its impact on GDP.) That raises a question. Does 'Feminist economics', which has its own journal, really bring anything distinctive?" [more inside]
an introduction to fiat money (pdf) by Steve Randy Waldman:* - "Self-reinforcing bootstrap dynamics hold as strongly for a king's token as it would for any other thing, but much more stably so, since the king can reinforce and assure the stability of his token so long as he retains the political capacity to coerce or persuade payment of tax." (via) [more inside]
The three party system - "There are three major political forces in contemporary politics in developed countries: tribalism, neoliberalism and leftism (defined in more detail below). Until recently, the party system involved competition between different versions of neoliberalism. Since the Global Financial Crisis, neoliberals have remained in power almost everywhere, but can no longer command the electoral support needed to marginalise both tribalists and leftists at the same time. So, we are seeing the emergence of a three-party system, which is inherently unstable because of the Condorcet problem and for other reasons." [more inside]
Almost a quarter of the votes in the last US presidential election were cast by women without spouses, up three points from just four years earlier. They are almost 40% of the African-American population, close to 30% of the Latino population, and about a third of all young voters. The most powerful voter this year is The Single American Woman.
For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions -"The very richest are able to quietly shape tax policy that will allow them to shield billions in income." (via) [more inside]
Let Us Face the Future - "All parties pay lip service to the idea of jobs for all. All parties are ready to promise to achieve that end by keeping up the national purchasing power and controlling changes in the national expenditure through Government action. Where agreement ceases is in the degree of control of private industry that is necessary to achieve the desired end. In hard fact, the success of a full employment programme will certainly turn upon the firmness and success with which the Government fits into that programme the investment and development policies of private as well as public industry." [more inside]
Tonight, President Barack Obama will deliver his 2014 State of the Union address. A stream will be available via the White House and from many other outlets. [more inside]
Pinky & Bunny are cute little kitties who live in the Mojave Desert. Their friends are Mimi & Kim (and sometimes grumpy old Daisy). They like to make videos about contemporary issues with a progressive view. Bunny died on Jan 25, 2013. [more inside]
Mother Jones: The 10 'Occupy' candidates vying for seats in the US House Of Representatives and Senate and their prospects.
A progressive Australian political advocacy group have produced a 2-minute advertisement showing their support of Marriage Equality Down Under. Warning: May pull heartstrings. [more inside]
"The United Nations-authorized intervention in Libya has pitched ethical issues of the highest importance, and has split progressives in unfortunate ways. I hope we can have a calm and civilized discussion of the rights and wrongs here." Professor Juan Cole of the University of Michigan writes An Open Letter to the Left on Libya.
Emerging from a debate on "epistemic closure" (of the conservative mind) John Quiggin looked beyond the dead horses and gazed upon the need "to offer hope, in the form of goals that can excite enthusiastic commitment to a progressive alternative." Matthew Yglesias pondered and penned a response providing a glimpse of the very big picture... [more inside]
Today, Oregon voters will decide whether or not to increase taxes on businesses and the rich. Ballots for Measures 66 and 67 are due today at 8pm, polling is extremely tight, and at this point the election will be decided by turnout. With the opposing sides having collected a combined $10.1 million in donations, Oregonians have spent the last month deluged by political ads, canvassers, and phone calls. Whatever the outcome, this election has at least had the effect of making "spadea" into a household word. [more inside]
As the Tea Party outpolls the Republican Party in a generic three-way ballot, disaffected progressives are considering independent parties of their own.
Perhaps something of an oddity in Chicago machine politics [I like to think in the spirit of Sean Tevis] Tom Geoghegan (pronounced "gay-gun") is running in a special election -- primary March 3rd and (hope me :) general April 7th -- for Rahm Emanuel's vacated 5th district Illinois seat. [more inside]
Avaaz.org was founded by moveon.org and getup.org.au alumni and brings a similar approach to global politics.
truthdig --drilling beneath the headlines. A new webmagazine, offering expert in-depth coverage of current affairs as well as a variety of thoughtful, provocative content assembled from a progressive point of view. The site is built around major “digs,” led by authorities in their fields, who will drill down into contemporary topics and assemble packages of content... Robert Scheer is editor in chief (you may know him from the SF Chronicle). The current featured "dig" is on religion and homosexuality.