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Saturday, January 23, 2010
Tune in 2012 for the new hit song: "Who Let the Trolls Out?"
Friday, January 22, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
It is also difficult for me to see how the Republicans can last as a national party. Sooner or later a strong opposition will emerge; either a reformed Democratic Party, or an entirely new national party.
It appears that the Democratic Party has for a long time, existed as a coalition between liberal and conservative wings (or, if you like, progressive and corporatist wings.) Since Reagan, policy on major issues—war and peace, banking, and so on—has been dominated by the conservatives, while less pressing issues (science, environmental policy, and so on) and public relations have been dominated by the liberals. In the Congress, the Senate Democratic caucus has been dominated by the conservatives while multiple House Democratic caucuses exist, with the House Democrats predominantly but not entirely liberal. The public face of the Democratic Party has been liberal, since the public is to the left of the conservatives. (See, for instance, The Progressive Majority.)
Now, however, a major issue—health care—has come to the fore. The Democrats have split right and left, and the public has become aware that the conservatives (who do not have the support of the majority of Democrats) have been making decisions on major issues which affect their lives. The Senate Democrats, after much agony, managed to agree on a business-friendly plan, while the House passed a plan somewhat to the left of that. Now the Senate leaders are afraid they will be unable to deliver their plan to their corporate sponsors, while the House leaders, looking at their loss in Massachusetts, know that if they pass the Senate plan unmodified they will be voted out.
It is difficult for me to see how the Democrats can rebuild their coalition. Its right wing and its president have betrayed it, and the party leadership will have a difficult time persuading most Democrats (who, remember, are well left of the conservatives) that the party represents them.
[Minor typographic changes made on 2010.03.07 and 2010.03.21]
Personally, I blame Obama. No, not really, though I note that Sotomayor concurred in part. But the Senate, and especially the Senate Democrats, they didn't stand up when it might have made a difference, and allowed the formation of a radical-right majority on the Court.
The Framers thus took it as a given that corporations could be comprehensively regulated in the service of the public welfare. Unlike our colleagues, they had little trouble distinguishing corporations from human beings, and when they constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind.--Justice Stevens, dissentingCoverage at ScotusBlog.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Be nice to see some analysis on this point from a real economist, or even the CBO.
"[...] only two states require their best-off citizens to pay as much of their incomes in taxes as their very poorest taxpayers must pay, and only one state taxes its wealthiest individuals at a higher effective rate than middle-income families have to pay." (Who Pays, 2009) The report goes on to list the "terrible ten:" the states which have the most regressive tax systems. These are, starting with the most regressive: Washington, Florida, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Illinois, Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Alabama.
The US Federal government, we already know, is not going to be supporting the state governments in maintaining their services in this new depression. Yet if the states raise taxes, that also works to deepen the depression. However, if instead taxes are lightened on the poor, and raised on the rich, that is neutral. In addition, there is a multiplier: if the poor have more money to take home, they will spend it, because they need to, and that provides a stimulus.
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States, Third Edition, 2009.
[minor changes made on day of publication]