July 15, 2007


New Populism Spurs Democrats on the Economy (ROBIN TONER, 7/16/07, NY Times)

Their language, and to some degree their proposals, reflect a striking contrast with the approach taken by Democrats during much of the 1990s, when President Bill Clinton asserted that trade would create American jobs and that paying attention to the concerns of Wall Street would help the economy by lowering interest rates. The more populist tone is one indication of a broader debate among Democrats over economic policy and how much they should break with the careful centrism of the Clinton years embodied by Robert E. Rubin, the former treasury secretary, who was a champion of free trade and cutting deficits.

So far, Republicans have, by and large, stuck by their free-market philosophy. They point to a rebounding stock market, declining deficits and steady if unspectacular economic expansion as evidence that conservative policies of tax cutting, less regulation and more trade are working.

But Democrats say they are responding to economic trends that the statistics in the headlines do not capture...

A helpful admission, at least, that their hysteria is divorced from reality.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 15, 2007 11:09 PM

Not quite. Their hysterical posturing seems to reflect a surprisingly pervasive sense of economic insecurity in much of the country. Now that insecurity may not be rational ... it certainly seems at variance with the standard economic metrics ... but the Dems are just responding to public mood as politicians usually do.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 15, 2007 11:35 PM

The Dems are less wrong than people think, but totally wrong as to the solutions.

Individualizing the Welfare state is good policy, and Republicans could have a ready answer for the Dems with out even debating the actual numbers.

100% fully funded scholarships for education, personal accounts for Social Sec. and Health savings accounts and consumer directed health care for health care.

All of the above far surpass the Democrat's policy presecriptions. Throw a "fair tax" into the mix, and they have nothing to campaign on.

Posted by: Bruno at July 16, 2007 7:02 AM

Great thinking. Take socialism even farther than the lefties in government, so as to take away their issues.

100% fully funded foolishness ... give the NEA et al. another four years worth of students and taxpayers to terrorize. No thanks.

Scholarships used to be a reward for scholars, now the word has been turned on its head and it's a reward for being a member of the currently protected minority.

Posted by: erp at July 16, 2007 8:06 AM


There is no intellectually sound argument against vouchers. You may, of course, find a post on my site and attempt to make one.

Education in America is going to publically funded for the duration, but it need not be publicly produced. If vouchers actually empowered the NEA, they would have been passed decades ago. (the mental contortions the conservative/libertarian right goes through to evade this point is absurd).

Vouchers will destroy the "government/education complex" in America. That is why the NEA fights every tiny reform toward choice. Why some on the "hard right" become willing dupes of the NEA is an embarrasment.

I love the "separation of school and state" idea, but that America doesn't exist, if in fact it ever did.

Posted by: Bruno at July 16, 2007 8:36 AM

Bruno - How did you read my comment as an argument against vouchers for the public schools?

Posted by: erp at July 16, 2007 11:29 AM

The argument against vouchers is Foundational: the purpose of education in a republic is to create good citizens and vouchers cede too much control over that process.

Posted by: oj at July 16, 2007 11:30 AM

Of course there is "a surprisingly pervasive sense of economic insecurity in much of the country." Pretty much from the day Pres. Bush was inaugurated the media has been nothing but doom-and-gloom as far as the economy goes. Just like with Iraq, the surprise isn't that so many people feel bad about things, it's that so many feel good considering the horrific tone of the media coverage.

Posted by: b at July 16, 2007 11:43 AM

Wait, what? OJ is against vouchers?

Or, is he agianst vouchers long-term but willing to use them as a tool in the short term to accomplish some specific goal like destroying the teachers union?

Posted by: Benny at July 16, 2007 1:19 PM


You place me in the unusual circumstance of wanting to defend OJ. Understanding an opposing argument, even conceding some of its validity, is not the same thing as supporting it.

Posted by: Brandon at July 16, 2007 2:31 PM

Clearly. So, you think OJ is in favor of vouchers?

What gave me pause was the language about "republic" and "good citizens". This I am certain OJ believes....

Posted by: Benny at July 16, 2007 2:46 PM

For the newspapers and the major television networks, the economy is "doom and gloom" as judged by declining circulation and falling viewership (as well as layoffs in the newsroom). So in a sense, they are reporting accurately, but only on their little portion of the economy.

Posted by: williamjames at July 16, 2007 9:21 PM