On how Democrats should change the fiscal policy

Standard

“Republicans have made clear time and time again that they don’t care about the deficit. And Democrats shouldn’t either. Rather than fixating on the GOP’s shaky math, Democrats should highlight the cruelty of shoveling money to the rich at a time when inequality is soaring and millions languish in poverty ”

Josh Mound, ‘The Democrats Are Eisenhower Republicans’, Jacobin Magazine

Advertisements

On the universal basic income weaknesses

Standard

“ In their incendiary book Inventing the Future, the authors Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek argue for UBI but link it to three other demands: collectively controlled automation, a reduction in the working week, and a diminution of the work ethic. Williams and Srnicek believe that without these other provisions, UBI could essentially act as an excuse to get rid of the welfare state. What’s needed is not the arbitrary adoption of UBI, but an entirely different conversation about what a welfare state is for. As David Lammy MP said, after the Grenfell Tower disaster: ‘This is about whether the welfare state is just about schools and hospitals or whether it is about a safety net.’ The conversation, in light of UBI, could go even further: it’s possible for the welfare state not just to act as a safety net, but as a tool for all of us to do less work and spend more time with our loved ones, pursuing personal interests or engaging in our communities ”

Ellie Mae O’Hagan, ‘Love the idea of a universal basic income? Be careful what you wish for’, The Guardian

On democratizing the economy through ownership

Standard

“ And democratizing the economy means challenging the most important fundamental of capitalist economics: the primacy of private ownership. In particular, private ownership of capital, of all the things — the buildings, the machines, the tools, the hardware, and the software — that we use to make other things. Without a say in how tools are used, workers themselves become passive tools. Being able to actively participate in decision-making and ownership go hand in hand. Democratizing means taking ownership ”

Michal Rozworski, ‘Democratize This’, Jacobin Magazine

On Britain’s business community opinion on EU migrants

Standard

“ It includes a poll of more than 1,000 companies, weighted to represent Britain’s business community, which finds that 23% believe allowing in an unlimited amount of EU migrants with a job offer would have a negative impact on their organisation. More than a third (35%) of businesses in low-wage industries said they recruited EU nationals because they cannot fill the positions with UK-born applicants, signalling that labour shortages could result from a clampdown. There was even more disquiet about stricter schemes among the 91% of companies that expected to hire EU migrants. Some 28% warned that giving skilled EU workers five-year visas would hurt them. More (30%) said that one-year visas for unskilled workers would do damage ”

 Michael Savage, ‘Big business leaders press Theresa May to rethink hard Brexit’, The Guardian

On Grenfell Tower symbolism for austerity

Standard

“ That tower is austerity in ruins. Symbolism is everything in politics and nothing better signifies the May-Cameron-Osborne era that stripped bare the state and its social and physical protection of citizens. The horror of poor people burned alive within feet of the country’s grandest mansions, many of them empty, mothballed investments, perfectly captures the politics of the last seven years. The Cameron, Osborne, Gove Notting Hill set live just up the road ”

Polly Toynbee, ‘Theresa May was too scared to meet the Grenfell survivors. She’s finished’, The Guardian

On the American class double-thinking

Standard

“ …most of the people on the highest rung in America are in denial about their privilege. The American myth of meritocracy allows them to attribute their position to their brilliance and diligence, rather than to luck or a rigged system (…)The rhetoric of ‘We are the 99 percent’ has in fact been dangerously self-serving, allowing people with healthy six-figure incomes to convince themselves that they are somehow in the same economic boat as ordinary Americans, and that it is just the so-called super rich who are to blame for inequality (…) There’s a kind of class double-think going on here. On the one hand, upper-middle-class Americans believe they are operating in a meritocracy (a belief that allows them to feel entitled to their winnings); on the other hand, they constantly engage in anti-meritocratic behavior in order to give their own children a leg up. To the extent that there is any ethical deliberation, it usually results in a justification along the lines of ‘Well, maybe it’s wrong, but everyone’s doing it.’ ”

Richard V, Reeves, ‘Stop Pretending You’re Not Rich’, New York Times

On the decline of the coal industry

Standard

“ In the US, coal has been crowded out in power generation by cheaper, cleaner gas from the fracking boom and even US coal executives believe Donald Trump’s promise to bring back jobs in the industry cannot succeed. Coal consumption has now been declining for three years in China, as its economic boom and output has tailed off in energy-intensive sectors such as iron, steel and cement (…) Coal has also been squeezed globally in recent years by the rapid growth of renewable power generation, which BP found had continued apace last year. Wind, solar and and other renewable power sources grew faster than any other fuel at more than 14% in 2016, slightly below the 10-year average ”

Adam Vaughan, ‘Global demand for coal falls in 2016 for second year in a row’, The Guardian