In the wake of the financial crisis, President Obama took the helm of a sinking economic ship and help to right it. The unemployment rate is now once again at pre-recession levels -- the lowest in seven years (5.5%).
Corporate interests that spend hundreds of millions a year on state and federal lobbying have grown accustomed to getting what they want at the federal and state levels, but it is much harder to assert corporate control over America's 22,553 municipal and county governments.
I've argued that Hillary Clinton is at risk of being a weak presidential nominee -- on several counts. She seems like yesterday's news rather than tomorrow's. The excitement of a having a breakthrough woman president is blunted by the fact that her husband got there first. She will raise a ton of money from Wall Street, just like the Republican nominee, blurring differences and depressing turnout. Despite the absence of a formidable primary challenger (assuming Elizabeth Warren doesn't run), Clinton is likely to under-perform in the primaries. Still, she is likely to be the Democratic nominee. While it's good that Clinton is positioning herself as more of a progressive, I think she needs to be even more radical, both to generate real enthusiasm and to address America's real problems.
You never hear the reformocons talk about arithmetic in their speeches. They talk about inequality and upward mobility and the American middle class. They talk about all sorts of expensive new plans, and they never mention that there's a catch.
Rahm Emanuel understands this all very well as his three terms in the White House under two Presidents taught him that you can have both. Examine some of his major initiatives and you see this philosophy in action.
This will be the heart of Hillary Clinton's conversation with America: equal wages for women, a higher minimum wage for workers, a higher standard of living for all, a better education for students who want to learn and affordable education for the moms and dads who must pay for it.
It is a myth that the minimum wage is only for teens and entry level workers. Raising the minimum wage to $10 would impact over 15 million workers.
Absenteeism matters. It is more strongly associated with dropping out than low test scores. The reasons that children from low-income families miss more school are varied. Their families may not have the ability to advocate for proper services for students with learning or physical disabilities.
I hate that we are leaving such a mess to our children and grandchildren. Solution: Congress should stop acting like children and do their jobs.
Democrats have not done well at all in telling their story and explaining their policies in a coherent manner. At the same time Republicans have been doing at least as well in addressing their message to the middle class voters.
Last summer, the City of Seattle passed a law that will raise the city's minimum wage to $15 per hour. But in a bizarre twist, Ronald McDonald and friends are suing the city and complaining that the new minimum wage violates a constitutional provision that was written to protect newly-freed slaves after the Civil War.
Fast-food workers and the millions of low-wage workers trapped in the margins of our economy are changing the world. Leaders in the faith community are standing with them along with tens of thousands of concerned people who believe in fairness.
We use the term "safety net" but that doesn't begin to get at how vital they were for me from age 9 to about 13 in my unsafe world. Without them, I might have ended up in foster care, on the streets or something worse in our crack-ridden neighborhood.
The older I become, the more I have thought about Che Che and her life outside of me - her now-adult daughter Hazel back in Clark and their large, affectionate family I'd sporadically meet over pixelated Skype sessions. Not unlike my mother, as I came to learn more of her story, I realized there was some contentment to be found.
The asset boom combined with wage stagnation have only intensified our nation's disparity disorder, the prime metaphor for which is Walmart and its heirs, the Waltons.
To get back to that level and maybe even surpass it, we need someone in charge at the Federal Reserve who understands that creating conditions that increase the purchasing power of American workers' paychecks is a part of her mandate. From what she's said and done so far, it appears Janet Yellen is exactly that kind of Fed chair.