Roosevelt understood that people who feel they have an economic future and a sense of stability are more able to spend money and participate in our consumer-driven economy. That means more business and more profits for companies selling all sorts of goods and services. Sooner or later, even the CEOs benefit. Call it "trickle-up" economics.
The New York Times reported last week that in the closed-door Republican Senate Caucus retreat, Republican Leader Senator Mitch McConnell "encouraged the Republican troops to refocus policy on the stagnant middle class." That would be like asking the wolves of the world to stop hunting and refocus on cultivating asparagus.
According to reports, one of the first acts of the Republican Congress will be to fire Doug Elmendorf, current director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, because he won't use "dynamic scoring" for his economic projections. Dynamic scoring is the magical-mystery math Republicans have been pushing since they came up with supply-side "trickle-down" economics. It's based on the belief that cutting taxes unleashes economic growth and thereby produces additional government revenue. Supposedly the added revenue more than makes up for what's lost when Congress hands out the tax cuts. Dynamic scoring would make it easier to enact tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, because the tax cuts wouldn't look as if they increased the budget deficit.
Design changes in Ebola management protocols make it highly probable that the Ebola hazard in America will be successfully contained. In contrast, the hazard of wealth-concentration policies implemented by central banks is not under containment. This problem threatens the very fabric of democratic enterprise.
The greatest danger currently facing all of us in America, and particularly progressives, is one of drift. As an economy, the United States is drifting along a low-growth path that is acclimatizing all of us to levels of unemployment which only a decade ago would have been treated as an outrage. As a society, the United States is drifting towards levels of income and wealth inequality so large that, if left unchallenged, will soon become irreversible. And as a political system, the United States is drifting towards a Republican sweep of both the House and the Senate in November unless the democratic left acts now to reverse what is in truth a carefully orchestrated and heavily funded great moving right show. Those of us of a progressive predisposition are drifting towards a political defeat of historic proportions -- one underpinned by an economic and social settlement of a highly conservative kind -- and we are doing so with what would appear to be only the slightest sense of alarm.
During North Carolina's 2013 legislative session, a fierce debate took place over how to change the state tax code. Because Republicans had won a super majority in the General Assembly as well as the governor's race in 2012, the real tug-of-war centered around an aggressively conservative tax reform package.