Middle Class

Why the Greens Lost, and Trump Won

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When President Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accords, embraced coal, and stacked his administration from people from fossil-fuel producing states, the environmental movement reacted with near-apocalyptic fear and fury. They would have been better off beginning to understand precisely why the country has become so indifferent to their cause, as evidenced by the victory not only of Trump but of unsympathetic Republicans at every level of government.  read more »

Can California Survive a Tech Bust?

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California’s economic revival has sparked widespread notions, shared by Jerry Brown and observers elsewhere, that its economy — and policy agenda — should be adopted by the rest of the country. And, to be sure, the Golden State has made a strong recovery in the last five years, but this may prove to be far more vulnerable than its boosters imagine.  read more »

Inequality and the 2016 Election Outcome: A Dirty Secret and a Dilemma

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The presidential election of 2016 occurred at the crest of a national debate over economic inequality,  deeply researched by economists and sociologists since the 1990s, widely perceived to have risen sharply since the 1970s, and a focus of the first serious left-wing insurgency the Democratic Party in four decades, that of Bernie Sanders. Can class and inequality help explain the election result?  The answer appears to be that they can, quite strongly, but in ways that may seem surprising.  read more »

Why Socialism Is Back

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Even as Venezuela falls deeper into crisis, and the former Soviet bloc nations groan under its legacy, socialism is coming back, and in a big way. Its key supporters are not grizzled pensioners yearning for Marxist security, but a whole new generation, most of whom have little memory of socialist failure.  read more »

The Grenfell High-Rise Fire: A Litany of Failures?

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At this writing, the London (Kensington) Grenfell high-rise fire has taken a confirmed 58 lives, with an unknown number missing and many more sent to hospitals. The 24 story low income housing tower block caught fire on Wednesday, June 14. It was virtually all consumed, as shown in the photograph above.  read more »

The New American Heartland: Renewing the Middle Class by Revitalizing the Heartland

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This is the introduction to a new report written by Joel Kotkin and Michael Lind with a team of contributors. Download the full report (pdf) here.

The greatest test America faces is whether it can foster the kind of growth that benefits and expands the middle class. To do so, the United States will need to meet three challenges: recover from the Great Recession, rebalance the American and international economies, and gain access to the global middle class for the future of American goods and services.  read more »

The Springfield Strategy

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I just enjoyed an adventure in Springfield, Massachusetts with Steve Shultis and his wife Liz of Rational Urbanism. Steve does a far better job of describing his town and his philosophy than I ever could, but my interpretation can be summed up with an analogy about an old college room mate.  read more »

Father of the Bernie Sanders Presidency

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President Trump’s elite-managed populism opens a path for a more genuine version.  read more »

America the Cheap

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America is a price dominant culture, and we need to take responsibility for that when we complain about bad customer service, poor infrastructure, etc. Certainly American business and political leadership could be better, but they aren’t the ones who decided to shop at Wal-Mart instead of the local store (favoring short term financial gain over long term community loss). Nor are they the ones who force us to vote for politicians promising something for nothing.  read more »

Trump’s Choice: Populism or Corporatism

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The real division in American politics today is no longer right or left, but rather between populism and an increasingly dominant corporate ruling class. This division is obvious within the Trump administration, elected on a nationalist and populist program but increasingly tilting toward a more corporatist orientation.  read more »