Labor Isn’t Just Another Interest Group

After some Twitter pushback from Ned Resnikoff and yours truly, Elias Isquith is still skeptical of the claim that Jack Lew’s nomination should make lefties queasy. Isquith: One, we don’t know enough about Lew’s actions while at the NYU to draw any definitive conclusions; he certainly wasn’t working in concert with or on behalf of…

Right to Work: A Setback, Not a Roadblock

Breathe and exhale, union backers. A blow to organized labor, an affront to workers, disingenuous union-busting—Michigan’s new right-to-work (RTW) law is all of these. And in the birthplace of the hallowed United Auto Workers? It’s almost unfathomable. Union workers and their allies assembled en masse last week, and will likely mount a campaign to rescind…

Walmart Workers: It’s All About Power

Seth Ackerman, Matt Yglesias, and Doug Henwood had an interesting Twitter conversation earlier this week about boosting wages  at Walmart. As Ackerman and Yglesias note, higher pay has to come from somewhere and Walmart, a company whose munificence has always been lacking, wouldn’t bear the full brunt of such an increase: They’d likely pass a…

Class and Democratic Citizenship

T.H. Marshall, in “Citizenship and Social Class”: Is it still true that basic equality, when enriched in substance and embodied in the formal rights of citizenship is consistent with the inequalities of social class? I shall suggest that our society to-day assumes that the two are still compatible,  so much so that citizenship has itself…

Ezra Klein and “Substance”

Bhaskar Sunkara takes on one of his favorite targets, Ezra Klein: Klein is the archetype for modern American liberalism, so much so that he disavows being a liberal at all. He’s a centrist technocrat, obsessed over policy, ignoring politics, honestly searching for solutions to the world’s problems through the dialectic of an Excel sheet. When…

Why White Papers Aren’t Enough

In his 2006 work On Political Equality, the great Robert Dahl tells us why: “I want to suggest instead that what actually drives the search for fairness is not pure reason but emotions and passions. Reason may serve to guide action toward justice. It may (and I believe should) assist us in choosing the most…

Some Thoughts on the Frase-Sunkara Plan

Peter Frase and Bhaskar Sunkara, two of the brightest minds the young left has to offer, call for federalizing and expanding the social welfare state in this month’s issue of In These Times: This might seem like a poor moment to call for expanding the welfare state. But the timing has never been better. Austerity…