• comment on a post What Do You Want from a Democratic Congress? over 8 years ago

    How about an explicit job-creation and job upgrading program? This could combine many of the ideas in the posts.

    Harold Meyerson proposed something like this recently:

    Every other advanced economy -- certainly, those of the Europeans and the Japanese -- has a conscious strategy to keep its most highly skilled jobs at home. We have none . . .

    So, here are three immodest suggestions:

    • Public Investment: We need to entice industry to invest at home by having the government and our public- and union-controlled pension funds upgrade the infrastructure and invest in energy efficiency and worker training.
    • Job Upgrading: We need to unionize and upgrade the skills of the nearly 50 million private-sector workers in health care, transportation, construction, retail, restaurants and the like whose jobs can't be shipped abroad.
    • Corporation Reform: And, if America is to survive American capitalism in the age of globalization, we need to alter the composition of our corporate boards so that employee and public representatives can limit the offshoring of our economy.

  • Well, they asked . . .

    and they didn't say it had to be feasible. :-)

  • comment on a post What Do You Want from a Democratic Congress? over 8 years ago

    1. Break up the big media corporations:

    • Caps on media ownership;
    • Roll back the number of radio stations a single firm can own;
    • Prohibit media cross-ownership and vertical integration.

    2. Promote alternatives to corporate media:

    • Expand access by not-for-profit groups to low-power FM radio-station licenses;
    • Tax incentives for development of community-based, noncommercial broadcasting outlets.

    3. Expand funding for public broadcasting;

    4. Force broadcasters to give candidates free air time;

    5. Bring back the fairness doctrine.

  • comment on a post Where's Our Fox News? over 8 years ago

    Yes, we need to build up our own media infrastructure, but we also need an explicit program to change the way the media in general works in this country.

    Here's an example to chew on:

    "If all we do is fight defensive battles, the best we'll ever be able to hope for is that things won't get any worse. But that's not enough," says Sanders. "What we need is an agenda to make things better."

    What are the pieces of that agenda?

    They suggest:

    1. A renewed look at antitrust initiatives;

    2. Caps on media ownership that are considered appropriate for a democracy, including rolling back the number of radio stations a single firm can own and prohibiting media cross-ownership and vertical integration.

    3. Reinvigorate the regulatory process through increased citizen challenges of the licenses of local broadcast outlets on grounds of lack of local coverage, a lack of diversity, excessive indecency and violence, or for other concerns important to the community.

    4. Expansion of access by not-for-profit groups to low-power FM radio-station licenses, and tax incentives for development of new, community-based, noncommercial broadcasting outlets.

    5. Funding for public broadcasting must expand dramatically to provide a model of quality journalism and diversified cultural programming.

    7. Broadcasters must be forced to give candidates free air time.

    8. Media conglomerates must not be allowed to impose their will on the United States and other countries via international trade deals that undermine the ability of Congress to aid public broadcasting and protect media diversity and competition.

    9. Media reformers must support the struggle to expand access to the airwaves and to assure that independent and innovative journalists, writers and filmmakers have the resources to create media that reflect all of America.

    I would add:

    10. Bring back the fairness doctrine

    These kinds of reforms are unquestionably in the public interest. Not only that, they help further progressive politics by making it much more difficult if not impossible for the kind of right-wing biased programming we have seen from Fox News, Sinclair Broadcasting Company, and Clear Channel Radio to continue unchecked.

    Just as the cry of right-wing activists used to be "de-fund the left," we need to use the regulatory power of the state to "de-program the right."

    This should be a fundamental part of our agenda, both short-term and long-term, right alongside raising the minimum wage, campaign finance reform, and the rest of it.

  • comment on a post More on Our Ten Words over 8 years ago

    * smart growth

    • fair trade
    • common-sense security
    • government of, by, and for the people

    Hat tip to Paul Rosenberg.

  • comment on a post The Need for Local Progressive Think Tanks over 8 years ago

    So the next step is what to do. Are there any examples of local progressive thinktanks already doing what you suggest, that could serve as models for elsewhere?

    There are on-line resources with ideas for state and local politics, but I think many of these are not really locally-based organizations:

    * Progressive Legislative Action Network

    * Center for Policy Alternatives

    * Moving Ideas: State/Local

    * EARN: Economic Analysis and Research Network

    * Smart Growth Online

    * High Road Service Center

    * Good Jobs First

  • comment on a post Our Ten Words over 8 years ago
    • Smart growth
    • Fair trade
    • Common-sense security
    • Government of, by, and for the people
  • comment on a post Joel Achenbach: I Am Conventional Wisdom over 8 years ago

    The problem here is that Achenbach confuses means and ends.

    For conservatives less regulation, lower taxes for the wealthy, less restraint on business are ends in themselves. That's their (extremely limited) idea of "freedom"

    But just turning around the equation and saying, OK, progressives are for more regulation, higher taxes, etc. is just stupid, because for us those are not ends in themselves but means to higher ends - like economic prosperity with social justice, or a clean environment, or a political system where "one person, one vote" is a reality -- real freedom for all.

    Like Mario Cuomo said, we are for "only the government we need, but we insist on all the government we need."

  • on a comment on Pro-Business Liberalism over 8 years ago

    This statement pretty well sums up my views on the employee voice issue:

    . . . a new principle should guide corporate governance: Employees who invest and put at risk their human capital should have the same rights to information and voice in corporate governance as do investors who put at risk their financial capital.

    -- Thomas Kochan, MIT Workplace Center, Regaining Control of Our Destiny: A Working Families' Agenda for America

    And, yes, this does have implications for jobs and living standards because corporations are using their power to divert resources away from job-creating investments and wages and toward excessive executive compensation, merger and acquisition shenanigans, and so on.

    The rate of investment in the present economic recovery is the lowest since the 1950s.

    This stuff matters.

    You know, I'm not really opposed to this pro-small business approach. It's kind of populistic in a way, and you do have a point that more people should be free to follow their dreams and start up their own firms with more security that their lives and finances will not be utterly wrecked in the process.

    Plus, small businesses do produce more innovations that large firms, which is a point I'm surprised you didn't make.

    So I'm not optimistic that huge numbers of small business owners are going to come over to our side, or that huge numbers of new jobs are going to be created, but as long as we don't have to sacrifice needed regulations in health, safety, consumer protection, the environment, and so on, I'm not opposed to the argument made here.

  • on a comment on Pro-Business Liberalism over 8 years ago

    BTW, your points about small business are conservative talking points:

    . . . businesses employing fewer than 100 or even 500 workers do not create many new jobs; are not becoming a more significant portion of the American economy; and offer workers lower wages, poorer benefits, inferior working conditions, and less job security than large employers.

    If you are interested in the reality-based view of the economy you kight check it out here

    And if Dems achieved their economic record by "supporting small business," as you say, how come small business owners are the most rabidly right-wing, retrograde group of people in American politics? They're the ones who killed universal health care back in the '90s, after all. Of course small business does better when the economy grows faster and living standards are rising, but most small businesspeople don't seem to realize that active government plays an indispensable role in keeping the economy growing fairly.

    Lastly, if you're really concerned about "individual workers owning their own production" than I suppose you are in favor of more worker coops and employee share ownership in corporations? Giving workers a greater say in how firms are run would be about the best thing we could do do restore full employment and rapid wage growth, but unfortunately that encroaches on "management prerogatives" and most small businessmen are opposed.

    No, I'm afraid you are the knee-jerk, not me.

  • on a comment on Pro-Business Liberalism over 8 years ago

    This comment sounds like it's based on RNC/Chamber of Commerce talking points.

    I object to this whole "anti-business" rhetoric. I suppose since I am in favor of stronger labor unions, a higher minimum wage, tougher worker health & safety, consumer, and environmental regulations, higher taxes on the wealthy, and so on, I am pegged as one of these anti-business types.

    Whatever. Let the record show that the US economy performs far better - lower unemployment AND inflation, and higher growth - when high-taxing, big spending, regulate-everything-in-sight Democrats are in charge.

    That's the only kind of "pro-business" that matters.

  • on a comment on Pro-Business Liberalism over 8 years ago

    Plus, nobody worries about "double taxation" when it happens to ordinary workers instead of the wealthy. You know, like when workers get hit once with the payroll tax and then gain with the income tax.

  • I think you are right.

    Check these out:

    cluster analysis

    Cluster analysis is a class of statistical techniques that can be applied to data that exhibits "natural" groupings. Cluster analysis sorts through the raw data and groups them into clusters. A cluster is a group of relatively homogeneous cases or observations. Objects in a cluster are similar to each other. They are also dissimilar to objects outside the cluster, particularly objects in other clusters.

    data clustering

    Data clustering is a common technique for statistical data analysis . . . Clustering is the classification of similar objects into different groups, or more precisely, the partitioning of a data set into subsets (clusters), so that the data in each subset (ideally) share some common trait - often proximity according to some defined distance measure.

    factor analysis

    Factor analysis is a statistical technique that originated in psychometrics. It is used in . . . applied sciences that deal with large quantities of data. The objective is to explain most of the variability among a number of observable random variables in terms of a smaller number of unobservable random variables called factors.

  • comment on a post The Dubai Ports Deal, Free Trade, and 2008 over 8 years ago

    Personally, I find a candidate who's experienced something a conversion on trade to be the most attractive and credible.

    Really? And do you find opponents of the Iraq War who underwent a "conversion" to be more credible, too?

    Why don't we give some credit to the people who had the right insight first? Why do we have to give brownie points for stupidity?

  • on a comment on "Bad Year" Nonsense over 8 years ago

    OK, I see where you're coming from. I'm all for universal health insurance, although I'm not so excited about a balanced budget amendment.

    Rock the boat, definitely.

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