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Politics and Social Justice

Touch of Class

President Obama did two things in his Wednesday address at George Washington University that he has been loath to do throughout his presidency. He spoke like a progressive partisan. And he spoke of that great unmentionable in centrist Democratic policies — the injuries of class. Among the inspired zingers: “They [the Republicans] want to give […]

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Changing the Tone in Washington

My fellow Americans, I ran for president to do two things — to change the tone of bitter partisanship in Washington, and to accomplish constructive economic change so that more Americans can share the blessings of prosperity. I need to speak candidly to you tonight. Despite my best efforts, I find that I cannot do […]

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An American Industrial Renaissance?

In the sorting out of the wreckage after Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, many Americans have begun paying more attention to a phrase they had barely known — “supply chains.” American manufacturing companies no longer make most of the parts that they use in production. Rather, both U.S. companies and foreign ones that produce for the […]

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The Continuing Mortgage Mess

One of the most startling exit-poll results to emerge from the 2010 midterm elections was the finding that the 35 percent of voters who (correctly) blamed the economic collapse on Wall Street actually voted Republican by a margin of 56-42 percent. As Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin wrote in a sifting of the exit polls, […]

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Winning the Present

How lunatic-fringe do the House Republicans have to be on budget cuts before President Obama starts calling them out on their plans? Evidently, they still have a ways to go, because the administration has been mostly silent on the sheer perversity of the Republican cuts. The cuts proposed in the House budget would devastate spending […]

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The Left Edge of the Possible

My friend, the late Mike Harrington, used to describe his politics as “on the left wing of the possible.” It’s a fine aspiration. But if anything, economic problems have become more politically intractable since Mike died in 1989. Scanning the various economic ills afflicting our Republic and its citizens, it’s evident that nearly all of […]

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Wisconsin’s Tunisia Moment

As events in Egypt showed, you never know what will set off mass protest. Here at home, over-reaching by a novice Republican governor of Wisconsin has finally triggered the protest marches that have been eerily missing during the more than three years of an economic crisis that has savaged the middle and bottom and rewarded […]

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Gandhi in East Boston

How wonderful that an obscure, 83-year-old American disciple of Gandhi helped inspire and facilitate the Egyptian revolution. But the mainstream media don’t quite know what to make of Gene Sharp, the man whose theories of non-violence and practical training manuals have helped inspire and train pro-democracy activists from Albania to Zimbabwe. The New York Times […]

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From Depression to Public Inspiration

Gingerly driving home from northern New Jersey to Boston in a last minute rented car, on a snowy day when the airlines were unreliable and Amtrak was vulnerable to freezing brakes, I crossed over the George Washington Bridge (completed 1931). It was the longest suspension bridge in the world until the completion of the Golden […]

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Business Doesn’t Need American Workers

Once again, the job numbers are dismal. In January, the U.S. economy created just 36,000 domestic jobs, far below the roughly 145,000 that economists had forecast. The unemployment rate fell, to 9 percent, but only because more and more discouraged workers are giving up and leaving the workforce. The U.S. still has a jobs gap […]

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