Quick summary of key goals and thanks to even critical blog readers!

thanks-digital-calligraphy-hiI would like to thank folks who have spent time responding to this progressive blog, whether they agree with what they read or not. There seem to be two general categories of reaction: 1. people who actually read the content, respond to what is actually written, whether they agree or have differences, 2. those who just see words like “capitalism” “poor people” , social responsibility, and immediately see “Socialism” or “do-gooder taking my money or some generous rich person’s money and giving to the government.”

If you really read what we have to say, it breaks down into 3 easy to digest bullet points:

1. . So, let’s be clear: There are no simple solutions and there is not a good political party and an evil one, nor is there a contempt for wealth, getting rich, initiative, hard work. The are various groups and political forces that want to demonize government (remember: the people whom the country put in charge of freeing the slaves, educating our children –except for our wealthiest children–they of course go to private schools– clean up the messes made by Big Business and Bankers in 1929, 2008 and points in between.

A. Had Obama not pushed through the stimulus package and, necessary evil, saved the banker’s and big business like GM and AIG’s behinds following Bush’s TARP desperate attempt to undo some of the damage, we would probably have 15% unemployment today, not the modest recovery we are experiencing.

B. Had Obama not pushed through the Affordable Care Act, 40 million Americans would not be on their way to healthcare coverage, people with preexisting medical conditions would be selling their homes and retirement pensions for coverage (a country that has people going to the emergency rooms of hospitals for healthcare (I mean 50 million of those), is and should be a laughing stock, in effect a third world country (those countries may not be able to afford the healthcare for all, this country Can). You folks with 21-25 year olds not in the workforce with their own insurance would be paying for there care out of your pockets. 

C. There are other things that would have seemed loony 40 years ago, but are accepted today, like busting teacher’s unions, demonizing school teachers, union busting, tax ceilings for the very rich (we middle class folk pay for that), lower corporate tax rates (and we wonder why the deficit is so bad– IT’S NOT JUST SPENDING, not EVEN JUST SPENDING FOR DEFENSE AT A HIGHER LEVEL THAN THE NEXT 31 COUNTRIES COMBINED)**.

D. Yes, we Do plead guilty to believing that snowballing income inequality is bleeding this country white (not to mention the 2003-12 Iraq war-on a-credit card). We do wanted to see public schools supported and more and better teachers in the classroom. We are healthy that in spite of all the Progressive-bashers, Obama-bashers, the deficit is already beginning to slow a bit and healthcare costs, rising for decades at an alarming rate, are now, already beginning to rise more slowly, this even Before the major 2014 reforms kick in.  

OK, WE SAID WE BE BRIEF HERE, SO LET’S MAKE CATEGORIES 2 AND 3 AS PROMISED!!

2. We have been clear that there are some Republicans and PLENTY of “Independents” who support some progressive ideas: healthcare reform, support for public education, an end to anti-labor policies, and we not only welcome them, they are beginning what will be a 3 decade coalition that will only get stronger. George W. Bush did not win the election of 2000 (yes he did become president, he simply did not win either the popular or–except for Supreme Court intervention– the electoral vote). He won very narrowly in 2004, then Obama trounced the Republicans in 2008 and 2012. McCain–veteran, hero, bi-partisan– was Not a weak candidate, nor was Romney. Obama and his ideas and political operation, by no means flawless, were simply better. 

We may seem like cheerleaders for some sort of Democratic Renaissance– but not quite so. We are saying that some Republicans are retrenching, the Tea-Party isn’t going anywhere–just getting smaller as a % of the national vote. Other Republicans are coming around to supporting some of the practical solutions outlined above. They see what the future looks like, and it does not look like Bush-Reagan-Romney.

Just the facts m’am: 1. the Hispanic vote, including Cubans, went overwhelmingly for the Democrats in 2012 (in the middle of a recession following the catastrophic polices of 2001-2008!), 2. the female vote will only be increasing, and women tend to vote more progressively, as a whole, then men, 3. the black and Asian votes, pretty robust, Not Shrinking, and Not overall conservative. Sorry, we are just the messengers and you do not have to read this blog to know which way the wind is blowing. What we HAVE DONE, that is a bit unusual for “left-progressive” analysts, is call for, at least for now, a coalition of progressives of all political parties, PROBLEM SOLVERS, to end the disgrace that is Washington today (listen up, Mr. McConnell).

No room to argue this here, but let’s throw out some red meat: we will argue that in, say 2030, if the Republican party campaigned for the White House or most of Congress, on the climate change-denying, teacher bashing, Rich over Middle Class policies they have been running on for 20 or so years, they would lose elections not by the current 5-6%/  332-206 Electoral Vote of 2012. They would lose by 15% for the White House and be very lucky to elect 40 senators or 45% of the House. Rest easy, Republicans and Conservatives: there is no chance of this. The “head on straight– for the most part– Republicans of the Bobby Jindall, Michael Bloomberg, Susan Collins, Chris Christy variety, see that survival will ultimately depend on moving to the center.

3. The What’s the Matter with Kansas (Thomas Frank), why do many working people vote against their own economic self interest puzzle is reflected in some of the responses to our outrageous call for balancing the budget by taxes as well as spending cuts, people whose kids are probably in public schools struggling to educate their kids, people who are supporting a defense budget above $700 billion (do the math on how much of your tax revenues are going for that), people who most Need healthcare (and if they don’t want it, the rest of us should not be subsidizing their visits to high priced emergencies rooms).

We will be interested in why many in the Red States– farmers, workers, low-mid income folks, really the backbone of this country and certainly the backbone of our armed forces– repeatedly defend the interests of the wealthy (Guys like Warren Buffett, who says he Should be paying more in taxes). One common theme seems to be that luck, the kind of luck not pointed in the direction of the single working mom kid referred to in our June story, plays no role in how well people do. Those who work hard prosper economically and those who prosper economically all work hard. This Tends to be true, but not nearly as true as some of our readers seem to believe. The lower middle class, working guy or woman and family, have little chance to do as well as those who get all of that expensive coaching for their SAT tests. It is a tribute to Karl Rove, FoxNews, and Rush Limbaugh, that so many people actually believe that the majority of the working poor or even the “poor poor”, are that way because they do not work their tails off. If my fellow “next paycheck” readers want to elect leaders and pay the taxes for the folks in gated communities, with lots of expensive toys, Hey that’s your privilege! But not for Me and the 52-53% of the population who elected and re-elected Obama in 2008-12.

Fear not. if you stick with us (and some of you won’t, though we get more readers every day) we will be offering lots of evidence, data, information to back up the points that we are simply asking you to listen to here. And thanks for listening and reading. Also WE NEED TO ANNOUNCE A CHANGE IN OUR READER POSTING POLICY: thoughtful readers who take their valuable time to offer arguments against our positions, Will be posted for all to see (the debates are already underway). We will Not be posting knee jerk, profanity laced, uniformed right wing stuff. There is too much good stuff coming in to give an audience to trash talk: sorry.

**Corporate Taxes as a Percentage of Federal Revenue
1955 . . . 27.3%
2010 . . . 8.9%

Corporate Taxes as a Percentage of GDP
1955 . . . 4.3%
2010 . . . 1.3%

Individual Income/Payrolls as a Percentage of Federal Revenue
1955 . . . 58.0%
2010 . . . 81.5%

Anyone who is serious about closing the US deficit should consider the changes in what corporations pay in taxes and the rise of the deficit. Source:Loophole Land: Time to Reform Corporate Taxes
Demos, APRIL 12, 2011

as cited in blog THE BIG PICTURE– http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/04/corporate-tax-rates-then-and-now/ —  Barry Ritholtz

CHOICE MORSELS

CHOICE MORSELS   

IS A SELECTION OF SHORT EXCERPTS FROM RECENT POSTS, COLUMNS, COMMENTARY THAT WILL GIVE THE READER AN IDEA OF WHAT WE DO HERE. NOT EXACTLY “THE BEST OF:”, BUT SOMETHING CLOSE. IT’S A SORT Of   here’s what we can do that may interest you, without your having to scroll through acres of comments.” David Lawrence on July 20, 2013 at 11:30 am said: I am a person that was subject to the pitfalls of life, but did not fall victim! I don’t want and did not receive charity, food stamps or any government provided program until I left the service and utilized the GI bill. I never desired for someone else to subsidize my progress through life and would not now force someone who has struggled to achieve success to support those unwilling to sacrifice for success. I know this does not apply to all, because some are born into great wealth, and some stuck in the peril of poverty, but we are all in possession of abilities to rise out of bad circumstance….especially when living in the US where opportunity is so available. No one has to fall to drug use, that is a poor excuse for failure and tenacity will prevail, as we all witness with the current rise in socialism! We should never fail to the point of depending on the government to subsidize or force excess tax of labor on one to the other within society! Equal justice under the law limits the disparity of taxation, but does not equally distribute wealth. The Constitution does not dictate equal wealth but equal protection, as even the poor will not be victimized by the government. That should not be changed to victimize those that have found success.

fshiels on July 20, 2013 at 12:19 pm said:

David,
This is thought provoking and I hope others will react. A few questions: 1. what about people who Didn’t struggle, particularly, to achieve success– I mean most of us struggle– but many successful folk (less than half) were handed a whole lot from their family fortunes, born with silver spoons so to speak; and what about those who have worked very hard but, because of a combination of luck, or color, or gender, or circumstance simply were not able to provide for their own needs or those who depended upon them?,
2. Opportunity in the USA is indeed available, but did you read the piece on opportunity as experienced by a wealthy Pittsburgh youth v. that of a child of a single parent in a run down ghetto?, does the latter deserve a leg-up, help from somewhere, or is it all just about the luck of the draw?,
3. can you think of some names of people or categories of people who have been “victimized,” having found success? do you mean here high taxes?

When you speak of the current rise of socialism, to you realize that corporate and personal income taxes were far higher in the 1950s and 1960s than today– for the very rich? Are you aware that the fabulously wealthy qualify for as much or more social security (from the Government) as the modest secretary or school teacher retiring? And that If you pay into social security and retire in 2010, that all of the money you paid into the program between, say, 1960 and 2010 will be used up by the time you are 69 or 70 years old? So after that age, what you are getting is welfare, money redistributed to you from other people. You may have worked hard, but it’s still Welfare after what you put in has been exceeded. You may have served nobly in the military, but the GI Bill is still a form of transfer payment. Sharecroppers, ghetto kids, American Indians, etc. get a bit of welfare, but the programs that help them to not, on a per capita basis, approach the GI bill benefits. I could go on, but…!

Thanks for writing, feel free to respond

WHAT DO NEW PROGRESSIVES WANT?

PROGRESSIVE CLIP ARTSTATEMENT OF PROGRESSIVE FUTURE USA PRINCIPLES

 

Fifth of July—It occurs to us that, belatedly, there is no better time than now to state the big ideas of what we mean by (New) Progressivism. To date we have talked about our book, the 2012 election, Republican myths, why the future points somewhat Left. But here we need to be clearer on what is for us the meaning of basic reforms that we see the country as moving toward, slowly and fitfully at first—maybe—but inevitably.

 

To be sure, reforms always involve compromise; there will be disagreements within the Democratic Party and certainly with the Republican Party about how or whether to implement these. So consider this a kind of Progressive template or even Manifesto! Special Note and credit, citation: this draft draws  on the statement of principles of the VERMONT PROGRESSIVE PARTY… Some of the ordering of their points has been changed and we have added a few things. We are sure they will not mind our admiration for the way they lay out basic ideas! And there are advantages to using an actual organization’s points. The entire Vermont statement is given below our points. Where we have quoted from VERMONT’s Statement, we Italicize.

 

  1. POVERTY, economic opportunity– The present distribution of wealth is increasingly skewed toward the richest 10% and much of that in the richest 1%. This represents a really Increasing distance between “rich, middle, and poor”* and is not economically healthy or sane. Society’s wealth should not be concentrated in the hands of a few, and a wealthy minority should not control the conditions under which we live…

 

2. Healthcare~ No American should have to want for proper nutrition, access to healthcare, educational opportunity on as near a par to “the best” as feasible… Basic needs, including housing, food, health care, education and energy should be affordable to all and not the means for private profit. Directing more resources toward the care and development of children is essential to a health and prosperous society. Our society’s deeply rooted racism and white privilege, whether overt, subtle or institutional, need to be abolished wherever they exist. We cannot stress this last point enough!

 3. ENERGY/CLIMATE CHANGEWe need to create an economy that is sustainable and reverses the destruction of our global environment. Present measures to slow down global warming are inadequate, although some effort is being made; it is far too little and too late. We cannot now fix the “too late,” but we must change the too little, especially in the area of carbon emissions: over land, sea, and in the air—the latter by commercial  air (airline) pollution must be addressed. All this is in the interest of our children and theirs, and generations to come. We must go beyond concern for our children and grandchildren. We are responsible for curbing what we might be doing to the detriment of our Great grandchildren and generations to come

 

  1. EDUCATION- American children are all entitled to well funded education to protect this country’s future quality of life. If this means shifting the use of national resources from, say, national defense, so be it. If this means increased taxation and federal equalization of resources available to poor school districts to compensate for the local tax base of richer ones, so be it. If any other path is taken as the country comes to its senses, then Inequality of opportunity and rigidity of class lines will be insured. We stress that Progressive education reform is about Opportunity, not “one size fits all” or broad social leveling.

 

  1. INFRASTRUCTURE- The infrastructure, road repair, public transportation of many areas of the US leaves a lot to be desired. The opportunities for employment, and not necessarily a “Public Works Administration,” but economic stimulus and improvement of the above, existed but was largely lost during the near train-wreck economic crisis of 2008-2013. If the current and near future political climate is unfavorable for public works programs to improve infrastructure, then some form of federal subsidy may be what it takes.

 

  1. DISCRIMINATION- This category will be developed further but our position is that the progressive agenda will favor improving equality in certain areas for racial minorities, women, the working poor, people of all sexual orientations. In sum, creative ways to guarantee legal and social respect for all and reduction of discrimination, relentlessly, where possible. Note that all of these points are not necessarily or projected reality, but that political forces will gradually move Toward that reality. Or to put it differently: the era of Reagan-Bush and its vision of America: is Over.

 

 

Vermont Progressive Party Statement of Presumples

 

Statement of Principles- The purpose of the Progressive Party is to promote economic, social and environmental justice and sustainability through electoral and other democratic political activities, and to become the majority political party, while protecting minority and individual rights and opportunities.

 

Our country, state and localities can reach their highest social and economic aspirations through truly representative democracy. All people have a right to equal participation in society. Democracy requires empowering people not only in government, but also in the workplace, schools and in the overall economy.

 

 Society’s wealth should not be concentrated in the hands of a few, and a wealthy minority should not control the conditions under which we live.

 

 Collective organizing is essential for people of low and moderate income to attain economic justice.

 

 

Everyone is entitled to decent work at a living wage in a safe working environment.

 

 We need to create an economy that is sustainable and reverses the destruction of our global environment.

 

The burden of taxes should be shared based on ability to pay. Basic needs, including housing, food, health care, education and energy should be affordable to all and not the means for private profit. Directing more resources toward the care and development of children is essential to a health and prosperous society.

 

Our society’s deeply rooted racism and white privilege, whether overt, subtle or institutional, need to be abolished wherever they exist.

 

The prevalence of sexism, both overt and subtle, limits and damages us all. More than merely encouraging women to fully participate, we must affirmatively assure their inclusion in all aspects of economic and civil society.

 

 Seniors and people with disabilities should be able to participate fully in society without economic deprivation or social isolation.

 

 All people, regardless of sexual orientation, should be able to participate fully in society without interference.  We must affirmatively ensure their inclusion in all aspects of society.

 

 Our society’s deeply rooted discrimination against low-income people, whether overt, subtle or institutional, needs to be abolished wherever it exists.

 

 Consistent with the rights and equality of others, religious and cultural minority groups deserve respect and freedom from governmental interference. Community members should be fully integrated into decision-making about the economic destinies of their communities. Those who operate a small business or farm, or are self-employed, must be protected from the overreaching power of mega-corporations.

 

Human labor is the key to creation of wealth. We challenge the assumed right to derive vast wealth from ownership or position. No nation should exploit the labor or resources of another nation or people. Human survival requires the elimination of nuclear weapons and the redirection of military spending to human needs. – See more at: http://www.progressiveparty.org/issues/principles#sthash.Y0DDywYK.dpuf