Politics

The Cleveland Miracle That Should Never Have Been

cleveland-house.jpg

“[T]he most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are the hardest to see and talk about.” Writer David Foster Wallace

The story of the three Cleveland women kidnapped over 10 years ago and recently found alive in a house on the city’s Near West Side has captivated the national imagination. There is the miracle aspect from the fact that such situations rarely end this way.  read more »

Can Public Banks Help Fix Local Finance?

422px-Day_21_Occupy_Wall_Street_October_6_2011_Shankbone_3.JPG

Are public banks the answer for the recession-induced decline in municipal revenue and other ills that plague our cities? It’s a solution being discussed in more than one American city.  

Mike Krauss, a founder of the Public Banking Institute and a chairmen of the Pennsylvania Pubic Bank Project, both non-profits that promote public banking, said this month an ad hoc committee made up of Philadelphia City Council members and civic groups started working on the adoption of language for a public bank in the city. He also said the measure is being adopted out of a need for “affordable and sustainable credit.” The PPBP is leading the effort for public banking in the city.  read more »

The Myth of Green Australia

aus-istock.jpg

Having collected the Nobel peace prize in 2007, Al Gore’s fortunes as a climate crusader slid into the doldrums.  But 8th November 2011 arrived as a ray of sunshine. On that day Australia’s parliament passed into law the world’s first economy-wide carbon tax. Rushing to his blog, Gore posted a short but rapturous statement, cross-posted in The Huffington Post. His fervent language echoed in progressive circles across the globe.  read more »

Enterprising States 2013: Getting Down to Small Business

es2013-lead.png

The following is an exerpt form a new report, Enterprising States, released this week by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and written by Praxis Strategy Group and Joel Kotkin. Visit this site to download the full pdf version of the report, or check the interactive dashboard to see how your state ranks in economic performance and in the five policy areas studied in the report.

Nothing better expresses America’s aspirational ideal than the notion of small enterprise as the primary creator of jobs and innovation. Small businesses, defined as companies with fewer than 500 employees, have traditionally driven our economy, particularly after recessions. Yet today, in a manner not seen since the 1950s, the very relevance and vitality of our startup culture is under assault. For the country and the states, this is a matter of the utmost urgency.  read more »

Class Warfare for Republicans

bigstock-Lincoln-Memorial-305498.jpg

As a Truman-style Democrat left politically homeless, I am often asked about the future of the Republican Party. Some Republicans want to push racial buttons on issues like immigration, or try to stop their political slide on gay marriage, which will steepen as younger people replace older people in the voting booth. Others think pure market-oriented principles will, somehow, win the day.  read more »

Progessives, Preservation & Prosperity

davidcameron.jpg

Conservatives often fret that Barack Obama is leading the nation toward socialism. In my mind, that's an insult to socialism, which, in theory, at least, seeks to uplift the lower classes through greater prosperity. In contrast, the current administration and its core of wealthy supporters are more reminiscent of British Tories, the longtime defenders of hereditary privilege, a hierarchical social order and slow-paced economic change.  read more »

Will Obama Play his Aces?

bigstock-CHARLOTTE-NC--SEP---Democ-26277410.jpg

With the stock market hitting new highs, and unemployment easing, albeit slightly, President Obama can now seize his moment. After spending four years blaming George W. Bush for his lousy hand, the president now sits at the table with three strong aces among his cards.

The key question is: Will he play them?

One reason he might not is that most of his good hand stems primarily not from his stewardship but America's economic and demographic kismet. In fact, this resurgence is primarily not taking the "green," urban and high-tech form, as preferred by most coastal Democrats, but stems largely from the productive forces being unleashed in the nation's largely red heartland.  read more »

U.S. Could be Courting Trouble in Europe

Europe+-+NASA+view+iStock_000005884810XSmall.jpg

One of the most fascinating aspects of Barack Obama's presidency stems not so much from his racial background, but his status as America's first clearly post-European, anti-colonialist leader. Yet, after announcing his historic "pivot" to vibrant Asia, the president, the son of an anti-British Kenyan activist, recently announced as his latest foreign policy initiative an economic alliance with, of all places, a declining, and increasingly decadent, Europe.  read more »

Is Hawaii the Bellwether for California?

Hawiian+Wave+iStock_000009421831XSmall.jpg

California used to consider itself the leading state and the bellwether for the entire country. Now that the entrepreneurial initiative has mostly switched to Texas and other such places, and Texas’s infrastructure has pulled ahead of California’s in its quality (I lived in Texas in the 1970s, and it was not so then!), California is, at the very least, still thought of as a bellwether for the whole country, if perhaps a dystopian one. But there is a state that even Californians look to for popular cultural leadership, visit frequently, and admire.  read more »

Should California Governor Jerry Brown Take a Victory Lap?

bigstock-Jerry-Brown-27098351.jpg

"Memento Mori" – "Remember your mortality" – was whispered into the ears of Roman generals as they celebrated their great military triumphs. Someone should be whispering something similar in the ear of Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been quick to celebrate his tax and budget "triumph" and to denounce as "declinists" those who threaten to rain on the gubernatorial parade.  read more »