Clinton’s time is now
By Brent Budowsky
In exit polls for the midterm election cycle, which was catastrophic for Democrats, 70 percent of voters were concerned about the state of the U.S. economy and 78 percent did not believe the next generation would be better off than today’s.
The eyes of those focused on the future leadership of America now turn to Hillary Clinton. Her time is now. Her moment has arrived. If and when she announces her candidacy for president, I suggest she express her resolve to bring full employment with fair wages to America, and announce a working group including Nobel laureates and leading economic thinkers to develop bold ideas to make full employment happen…
For decades the mission to create full employment was a common cause for Democrats and many Republicans. In recent years, though, politicians and media have lowered our sights, standards and expectations. Full employment has disappeared from our national discourse even as voters repeatedly demand that unpopular presidents and Congresses take actions they do not take, and angrily vote in change elections that never bring change…
If Clinton champions the cause of full employment with fair wages, she will appeal to men and women of all races in every region of the nation. She will raise the spirits of our workers, elevate the standards of our discourse and lift the aspirations of our society as her moment arrives to assume center stage in American political life.
Hillary Clinton’s accidental insight
(Editorial, Orange County Register) Stumping for gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakely, Ms. Clinton let slip the kind of comment that can launch a thousand ships of criticism. “Don’t let anybody tell you that, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs,” she said…
Ms. Clinton’s poor phrasing accidentally revealed an important insight…
When big corporations with close government ties fail to boost broad-based economic growth, including job growth, it’s not really because Republicans have lightened their tax burden.
A more significant factor is the way those corporations can game the regulatory system and benefit from political patronage.
Inside the bubble of cronyism, profits can be generated in a manner that the free market hardly gets to access.
Good job, New Zealand: Woman recreates NYC experiment, doesn’t get catcalled
(Firstpost) In stark contrast with the woman in New York, actress Shoshana B Roberts, who encountered more than 100 instances of verbal street harassment, model Nicola Simpson, who did the experiment in Auckland, had only two people approach her. While one person stopped her to tell her she looked beautiful and then apologised for stopping her, two others stopped her to ask for directions. There were a couple of people who did check her out, but there was nothing that could be termed as harassment.
Last night was a bloodbath for Democrats.
But liberal ISSUES won, in two ways—via ballot measures on minimum wage, gun control, and marijuana laws, and by Republicans pretending to change their beliefs on those issues plus women’s health rights.
Obama has literally destroyed the Democratic Party.
Time to rebuild from scratch, and jettison all the so-called Democratic consultants, who keep advising candidates to be moderate instead of all-out populist.
When Democrats start to act like Democrats, they’ll win.
Why We Are So Easily Manipulated by the Politics of Fear
(David Ropeik, Psychology Today) The real threat eating at a majority of Americans is from falling behind financially and losing the economic capacity to control our lives and protect ourselves…
And one of the responses to that threatening sense of powerlessness is to turn to your tribe… Buying into the fear beliefs of the tribe is a way to feel safe.
So the partisan nature of the current Republican fear appeal magnifies its effectiveness, by tapping into not only our innate sensitivity to anything that might be a threat and our greater sensitivity to threats making news, but to our instinct to circle the tribal wagons to protect ourselves when we feel like we can’t protect ourselves as individuals.
Fear is good. It helps keeps us alive. And most of the time we get things right. But oh how the instinctive nature of our risk perception system makes us gullible, manipulable, simple-minded fish chasing the shiny false lure of safety. We might make smarter choices if we are wary of that lure when we step into the voting booth.
Income equality slows growth, prosperity
(Washington Monthly) We’ve all seen the grim signs. At the personal level, more and more families are losing ground as they struggle to reach, or remain, in the middle class. At the national level, sluggish economic growth isn’t producing good new jobs for our young people, or preserving good jobs for mid-career workers. The two—growing inequality and anemic growth—are intimately connected.
Rising income inequality, for example, crimps the customer base that supports businesses large and small. And the growing inequality of wealth makes it harder for fledgling entrepreneurs to bring good ideas to the market. Similarly, the education achievement gap between the children of the wealthy and the rest of us is widening, and will lead to future declines in productivity. These trends do not bode well for new U.S. generations as they enter the workforce and begin to save for retirement.
Social Security isn’t keeping up with seniors’ costs
(Mark Miller, ReutersMoney) Social Security’s annual inflation adjustment is one of the program’s most valuable features. But it’s time to adjust the adjustment.
Retirees will get a 1.7 percent bump in their Social Security benefit next year, according to the Social Security Administration, which announced the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) [last week]. Recipients of disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income also will receive the COLA.
That reflects continuing slow inflation in the economy - the COLA has averaged 1.6 percent over the past four years – but it’s not enough to keep up with the higher inflation retirees face…
A recent national survey by the Senior Citizens League illustrates the cost pressures seniors, especially those living on fixed, lower amounts of income, face. Half of retirees said their monthly expenses rose more than $119 this year, while an even higher percentage (65 percent) said their benefits rose by less than $19 per month…
A more generous COLA would come via the CPI-E (for “elderly”), an alternative, experimental index maintained by the BLS that is more sensitive to retirees’ spending. That index generally rises two-tenths of a percent faster than the CPI-W.
Are same-sex marriages good for the economy?
(Gordon Hodson, Ph.D., Psychology Today) With noticeable declines in the numbers of heterosexual marriages, marriages between gay couples can boost the economy among businesses linked to the wedding industry. By similarly tuning self-interests toward economic strategies that cut carbon emissions, can psychology help save the planet?
Giving Poor Families a Chance
(U.S. News & World Report) Housing location matters for poor children’s futures. Poor kids growing up in poor neighborhoods with poor schools do worse than poor kids growing up in better neighborhoods with better schools. That sounds right, but a major new report by my Center on Budget and Policy Priorities colleagues Barbara Sard and Douglas Rice impressively marshals the research that proves the case, while acknowledging that federal rental assistance policy has had limited success to date in actually moving poor families into better neighborhoods.
New solar power material converts 90 percent of captured light into heat
(University of California – San Diego) A multidisciplinary engineering team at the University of California, San Diego developed a new nanoparticle-based material for concentrating solar power plants designed to absorb and convert to heat more than 90 percent of the sunlight it captures. The new material can also withstand temperatures greater than 700 degrees Celsius and survive many years outdoors in spite of exposure to air and humidity.
New posts at Many Years Young 10/14/14
It’s time to get mad about the outrageous cost of health care
Most Expensive Cost in Health Care? The Doctor
After Surgery, Surprise $117,000 Medical Bill From Doctor He Didn’t Know
‘Perverse Incentives’ Add Costs to Dying When Patients and Families Want Less
Plus lots more.
Senate shaping up 50-50
By Brent Budowsky
There are so many razor-thin Senate races that confident predictions of which party holds Senate control are, to paraphrase a line from Jack Nicholson in “Chinatown,” wind from a duck’s derriere. My best estimate today, which could change tomorrow, based on events, is that the next Senate will be divided 50-50 with independent Sen.-elect Orman deciding control. In this scenario, as Kansas goes, so goes the nation. Orman’s leverage to demand Senate reforms could be earthshaking…
Most statistical analysts and insider pundits miss significant qualitative factors that will have increasing influence in the coming weeks.
Obviously President Obama’s unpopularity hurts Democrats. But Republican hatred of Obama does not a Senate majority make. Right-wing anger, vindictiveness, dog whistles and derision do not create one job, make life better for one woman or make one American town safer. Serious and concerned voters want more, which is why the GOP wave has not materialized and so many Southern and red-state Democrats are still standing after a year of onslaughts, attacks and, at times, flat-out lies arrayed by the armies of the right against them.
Many Democrats running in 2014 come from storied and highly respected Democratic families…
Meanwhile, while insiders are obsessed with the Obama drag, the cavalry for Democrats is coming, in the name of the Clintons. Bill Clinton’s barnstorming in Arkansas will give Sen. Mark Pryor (D) a lift. Bill and Hillary Clinton have been promoting Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) in her race against Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Grimes recently pulled ahead of the Senate minority leader in a Louisville Courier-Journal poll, which may or may not be an outlier in a race that will be closer than statisticians suggest.
So why do we keep having booms and busts? Cui bono? Why, the 1%, that’s cui.
Busts hurt more than booms help: New lessons for growth policy from global wellbeing surveys
(Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, University College London, and Michael I. Norton, Harvard Business School) We find evidence that the life satisfaction of individuals is between two and eight times more sensitive to negative growth as compared to positive economic growth. People do not psychologically benefit from expansions nearly as much as they suffer from recessions.
These results suggest that policymakers seeking to raise wellbeing should focus more on preventing busts than inculcating booms. Our results also offer an explanation for why increases in GDP do not always pay off in increases in happiness – the modest happiness gains accrued over years of growth can be wiped out by just a single year of contraction.
Bill Clinton can save Dems
By Brent Budowsky
With Americans deeply concerned about the direction of the nation, [Bill Clinton] can explain to voters the great stakes of the midterm elections — with credibility unparalleled in national politics — on terms favorable to Democrats…
My advice to the Democratic Party for the close of the midterm elections would be for Clinton to tape a series of 3- to 5-minute videos supporting top Democratic Senate candidates, in addition to personally campaigning for them. These videos would offer a thoughtful and conversational explanation of why those Democratic candidates should be elected, and why all-Republican control of Congress would bring total gridlock in Washington and worsen the poisoned politics that is held in widespread contempt throughout America.
These videos would resemble a modern version of FDR’s fireside chats, when serious and concerned Americans would gather around their radios to hear Roosevelt talk intelligently and respectfully about how to end the Depression and win the Second World War. They would frame the election choices, achieve saturation coverage in states Clinton addresses and reverberate throughout modern communications of TV, print and social media.
In the sour political climate today, Americans hunger to be treated respectfully by political leaders who explain how tomorrow can be better than today, and why everything will be OK if we do the right things. Clinton can explain with unmatched credibility why liberals must vote and why swing voters should support Democrats.
Poverty dropped but household incomes didn’t rise, Census Bureau says
(Washington Post) The nation’s poverty rate dipped slightly last year as more Americans shifted from part-time work to full-time jobs, but wages barely kept up with inflation so there was no significant change to incomes, according to Census Bureau statistics released Tuesday.
The new census figures reflect a nation that is still struggling to emerge from the severe recession that officially ended almost five years ago. Poverty, though in decline, remains high. The increase in jobs has not affected the degree of income inequality. And median wages have been stuck at the same level since 2009.
New posts at Many Years Young 9/16/14
Preventing Cancer Through Good Food and Exercise
Cancer Survivor Numbers Triple From 40 Years Ago: Report
Man Survives Rare Cancer Thanks to New ‘Targeted’ Therapy
Some Cancer Experts See ‘Overdiagnosis,’ Question Emphasis on Early Detection
Plus lots more.
New posts at Many Years Young 9/16/14
Health Is Cornerstone of a Happy Retirement
7 Health Boosters That Will Surprise You
Yes! Sweat the Small Stuff
More General Health News
Plus lots more.
New posts at Many Years Young 9/15/14
The Psychology of Terrorism
Study examines impact of violent media on the brain
The Mysterious Case of Primate Peacefulness
Self Improvement Tips
Plus lots more.
Governments hold key to unlocking billions for social good – G8 report
(Thomson Reuters Foundation) Governments can unleash billions of dollars to tackle social problems more effectively if they take bold steps to reduce barriers to investing for both profit and social good, a task force set up by the world’s richest nations said on Monday.
In its first report, the G8 Social Impact Investment Task Force calls on governments to make tax and regulatory reforms to catalyse the market in investments that generate social or environmental benefits alongside financial returns.
“This is not about increasing or reducing public expenditure, but helping government to benefit from innovation and private sector capital in order to achieve more impact with the money it has,” Ronald Cohen, the chair of the year-old task force, said in a statement.
New posts at Many Years Young 9/12/14
‘Fat Shaming’ May Actually Lead to Weight Gain
Weight-loss and Nutrition Myths
10 Tips to Stick to Your Diet
More Weight Loss Tips
Plus lots more.