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Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): January 30, 2020 John Clegg, co-author of this article, on the economic roots of mass incarceration • Tobita Chow & Jake Werner, authors of this paper, on the US–China trade war

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Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): December 26, 2019 Adam Kotsko, author of “The Evangelical Mind,” on the life and thought of that tendency • Shailja Sharma on India’s new citizenship law and protests against the country’s drift into fascism

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Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): December 19, 2019 Aditya Chakraborty on the British election, BoJo, Brexit, the state of the Labour Party • Nathan Robinson, author of Why You Should Be a Socialist, on that very topic

RIP, Paul Adolph Volcker

Paul Adolph Volcker is dead at the age of 92. (Most accounts of the man suppress the middle name, though it was often pointed out with bitter glee by builders and others who were undone by his high interest rate policies in the early 1980s.) As I wrote in LBO when he left office in 1987, if capitalism gave out a Hero of Accumulation award, he would have been first on the honors list. Let’s recall what he did, because all the worshipful obits will almost certainly sanitize the history. Volcker was… Read More

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Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): November 21, 2019 Ryan Grim, author of We’ve Got People, on the long fight between insurgents and establishment in the Democratic party • Jenny Brown, author of Without Apology, on the history and politics of abortion in the US (check out National Women’s Liberation and Redstockings)

Warren’s cagey health plan

People on the left have been debating Elizabeth Warren’s health plan since it was released a couple of weeks ago—“realistic” or a ruse? I vote ruse, but I don’t want to make that argument myself right now. Instead, I’ll allow a research note from Barclay’s, which found its way into my inbox, do that work. Here’s the opening paragraph of the report, by Barclay’s analyst Steve Valiquette: Compared to her previous hardline stance on M4A, the new plan represents a significant change in tone, in our view. Not only does the transition plan… Read More

Taxing the rich is only a start, though it’s a good one

It’s become near-consensus on the social democratic left that you can fund a decent welfare state by taxing the rich and shrinking the military. Sad to say that isn’t true. Those are good things in themselves, and you could pay for some excellent things with that agenda, but it would still be well short of actual social democracy. I’m defining social democracy as a large and robust welfare state that socializes a lot of consumption through taxation and spending, compressing the income distribution, reducing poverty sharply, capping the political power of the… Read More

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Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): October 10, 2019 Corey Robin, author of The Enigma of Clarence Thomas, on the life and thought of a conservative black nationalist

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Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): September 26, 2019 Joel Schalit, co-founder and editor of The Battleground, on the Israeli election • Martin Lukacs, author of The Trudeau Formula, on that slippery Canadian PM

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Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): September 19, 2019 Sam Gindin on the UAW’s strike against GM, and the possibilities for the green repurposing of a plant GM is abandoning • Robin Einhorn on the role of slavery in shaping tax politics in the early US (article here)

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Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): September 12, 2019 Margaret Corvid, city councilor in Plymouth, England, on BoJo and the Brexit madness • John Clegg, author of this article, on slavery’s profound effects on the US political structure

Rasmus on the attack again

The irrepressible Jack Rasmus, who has never demonstrated any real understanding of how economic statistics are constructed, has a new post claiming that the “real” unemployment rate is more like 10–12% than the officially reported 3.7%. He has a point, even if it’s somewhat overstated. The government’s own broad unemployment rate, U-6, was 7.2% in August, nearly twice the headline rate, though short of the Rasmus rate. (See table A-15 here.) One of the ways the government undercounts the unemployed, says Rasmus, is that the monthly survey “misses a lot of workers… Read More

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Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): August 29, 2019 Yasha Levine on the “democracy” demos in Moscow: for a flossier neoliberalism • Maria Luisa Mendonça on the Amazon fires: who’s setting them, why, and what can be done

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Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): August 22, 2019 Brian Hioe updates us on the Hong Kong protests • Kavita Krishnan on India’s crackdown in Kashmir

Hillary against incrementalism

With incrementalism all the rage among non-Bernie Dems—like Sorta Medicare for Some—it’s worth recalling this passage, about the only honest and interesting one amidst endless tedious self-exculpations, from Hillary Clinton’s What Happened, her story of her shameful loss to Trump: Democrats should reevaluate a lot of our assumptions about which policies are politically viable. These trends make universal programs even more appealing than we previously thought. I mean programs like Social Security and Medicare, which benefit every American, as opposed to Medicaid, food stamps, and other initiatives targeted to the poor. Targeted… Read More