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Politics and Social Justice

The Delusion of a Radical Center

A well-funded, faux-reformist group known as Americans Elect is promoting a third party presidential candidacy and anticipates qualifying its candidate to be on the ballot in nearly all states. It is doing this by collecting millions of petition signatures, over 2.2 million so far, taking advantage of voter frustration with political blockage in Washington. The […]

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Simplify Banks and Bank Regulation

In January 2010, after Scott Brown’s upset victory in the special Massachusetts Senate election, a panicky President Obama managed to sound like a populist for a couple of days. He called for a tax on banking profits and drafted Paul Volcker to appear at a quickie press conference so that the administration could call for […]

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Wall Street: From Protest to Politics

“There go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them.” –Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, French politician (1807-1874). When elected leaders largely ignore a disgrace like the financial collapse of 2008, sooner or later popular protest fills the vacuum. The Wall Street protests are heartening — but also a measure […]

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A Depressing Story You Need to Read

If President Obama’s health reform, the Affordable Care Act, backfires politically, one reason will be the staggering political power of the drug industry. If, for example, the health reform had used the bargaining power of the federal government to lower the cost of prescription drugs bought by Medicare and Medicaid, instead of the current system […]

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Beware Greeks Bearing Banks

After every financial debacle or war, there is a huge political struggle over whether creditors and financial speculators get to stand in the way of an economic recovery. When the creditors win, ordinary people who had nothing to do with the crisis are typically the victims. Today, the entire political elite is in the austerity […]

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Strauss-Kahn and the European Left

Paris — The apparent self-destruction of Dominique Strauss-Kahn in a New York hotel is emblematic of a European left that has ceased to be much of a progressive alternative, either in terms of lifestyle or policy alternatives. Strauss-Kahn, who until yesterday headed the International Monetary Fund, was the Socialist front-runner to challenge French President Nicolas […]

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The Jobs Numbers and the President’s Job

The economy added 244,000 jobs in April. That should be good news for President Obama and the Democrats. But according to the Economic Policy Institute, at this rate of job growth it would take until the fall of 2016 for unemployment to come back down to where it was before the recession. The next election, […]

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China: Be Careful What You Wish for

The global economy may be a mess, but the world’s central bankers like to congratulate themselves for one thing. Inflation has been tamed. Sorry, bankers, but the low level of price inflation has little if anything to do with skilled central banking. In the short run, the absence of price pressure reflects the prolonged recession. […]

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Hold The Champagne

It’s a great day for the world and for the presidency of Barack Obama that Osama bin Laden was captured and killed. But people who think that this assures the president’s re-election are a little premature. A few other things have to happen first. We need to avoid a double-dip recession, or a combination of […]

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A Double Dip Recession for 2012?

Economists are painting a pretty bleak picture of the economic outlook between now and the November 2012 election. Will this hurt President Obama’s re-election chances? Or will voters blame the Party of No? That, of course, partly depends on what kind of campaign Obama runs and partly on the Republicans. But first, let’s take stock […]

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