Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): April 23, 2020 Vijay Prashad on China (and Sinophobia), Kerala, and the crucial importance of social organization • Meagan Day and Micah Uetricht, authors of Bigger than Bernie, on Sanders, socialism, electoralism, and where it all goes from here.

Taxing the rich revisited

Back in October, I wrote about how taxing the rich, while a nice start, won’t be enough to fund a serious welfare state. That would require taxing the broader population seriously and we need to be honest about that. Until we are, Reagan will continue to rule from beyond the grave. Most of that post was about the details of financing—the cheapness of our own welfare state and what it would take to get to something more Scandinavian. But the political angle deserves more attention. That was developed nicely the other day… Read More

Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): January 16, 2020 James Meadway, former economic advisor to the UK Labour Party, on the British election, how to fight political cynicism, and ideas for reindustrializing busted regions • Katherine Moos on the costs of social reproduction and who pays them (paper here)

Fresh audio product

Added this to my radio archive the other day but had to run off before announcing it. Click on date for link. August 15, 2019 Andrew Sernatinger on the recent DSA convention (see article here; mine is here) • Margaret Kimberley on Elijah Cummings, the black misleadership class, Trump, white supremacy, and gun violence [back after summer vacation and KPFA fundraising break]

Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): June 13, 2019 Rune Møller Stahl on the Danish elections, which the left won but partly by going anti-immigrant • Heidi Matthews, author of this article, on Canada’s genocidal treatment of its indigenous people

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

Fascists are good for stocks

Investors are looking forward to the inauguration of the terrifying fascist Jair Bolsonaro as president of Brazil on January 1. And they look to dreading the inauguration of the moderate social democrat Andrés Manuel López Obrador (aka AMLO) as president of Mexico on December 1. Graphed below are indexes representing the two countries’ stock markets—or, more specifically, shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange designed to mimic those indexes. (The history of the Mexico index is here; of Brazil, here.) The top graph is a long-term view. It shows that the two… Read More

Hits to GDP

The hysterical (in the funny sense) report on socialism that the Council of Economic Advisers put out this morning contains this gem of simulation: It may well be that American socialists are envisioning moving our policies to align with those of the Nordic countries in the 1970s, when their policies were more in line with economists’ traditional definition of socialism. We estimate that if the United States were to adopt these policies, its real GDP would decline by at least 19 percent in the long run, or about $11,000 per year for… Read More

Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): March 1, 2018 Liza Featherstone, author of Divining Desire, on the history and meaning of focus groups [disclosure alert: Featherstone is the host’s wife]

Liberal redbaiting

The Sanders campaign has certainly sharpened the contradictions, hasn’t it? It’s been very clarifying to see Hillary Clinton and her surrogates running against single-payer and free college, with intellectual cover coming from Paul Krugman and Vox. Expectations, having been systematically beaten down for 35 years, must be beaten down further, whether it’s Hillary saying that to go to college one needs some “skin in the game,” or Rep. John Lewis reminding us that nothing is free in America. A challenge from the left has forced centrist Democrats to reveal themselves as proud capitalist tools. Latest… Read More

Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archive: October 22, 2015 Leo Panitch on the Canadian election • Megan Erickson, author of Class War: The Privatization of Childhood, on class and schools

Sanders, budget-buster?

The Wall Street Journal, one of the more respectable organs of the Murdoch press, put out a sensationalized tally of Bernie Sanders’ spending proposals yesterday: an $18 trillion agenda that would “greatly expand government.” Sensation is Murdoch house style, but the Journal is also supposed to be a serious paper. Here’s how they get to $18 trillion: Sanders’ spending proposals, next 10 years billions of dollars Medicare for all $15,000 Social Security 1,200 infrastructure 1,000 college affordability 750 fund to allow workers paid family/medical leave 319 protecting private pensions 29 one million youth jobs 6 total 18,304… Read More

The virtues of concentration

On op-ed piece in today’s New York Times the latest source to point out that Canada’s banking system is now the most solid and stable in the world. The reasons: Canada has a very concentrated financial system, which is dominated by just five nation-spanning banks, and one that is tightly regulated. Curiously, as the author, Theresa Tedesco, point out, the Canadian national banking model was inspired by the USA’s own Alexander Hamilton, a centralizer and concentrator from way back. This confirms a couple of longstanding obsessions of mine. One is that concentrated financial systems are… Read More