The Pup Tent Party?

Elizabeth Warren and Nancy Pelosi, both of whom actually belong to the Democratic Party, said what shouldn’t have needed to be said: DNC Chairman Tom Perez was wrong when he said the national party would not support any candidate who did not support reproductive rights. Here’s part of what Perez said:

Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health. That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.

He is right. Everyone should support reproductive rights for women and those rights should not change depending on where you happen to live. But he is wrong to ignore the reality of American politics. Pro-choice Democrats can’t get elected in some places.

Both Warren and Pelosi are, in Warren’s words, “strongly pro-choice.” Pelosi said:

I have served many years in Congress with members who have not shared my very positive — my family would say aggressive — position on promoting a woman’s right to choose.

Image result for warren and pelosiBut both of these powerful Democrats recognize, as do most party leaders, that the issue of abortion is one that plays differently in Louisiana than it does in Massachusetts or California. We should remember that when Democrats held a majority in the House in 2009, it was because more than three dozen anti-choicers called themselves Democrats.

Leading Democrats have more work to do in convincing an overwhelming majority of people that women should be able to control their own bodies, should be able to make their own choices about having children and how many they should have. Until then, we have to live with the fact that not everyone, including not everyone in the Democratic Party, agrees with the party’s platform on the issue. Warren put it well:

I recognize that not all of my colleagues agree with me. I’ll do everything I can to persuade them, but they are my colleagues, and that’s just how it is with the Democrats. But I got to say, it does not dampen my energy in this fight.

It’s the same way with issues like single-payer health insurance. Many Democrats don’t support the concept, either as a revolutionary change in our system or even as an incremental change, step by step until we get there. These Democrats need to be convinced otherwise, as far as I’m concerned. But if they are willing to fight for other issues that we Democrats have in common, then they should be welcome in our party to fight with us on those issues.

The two major political parties in our system are, by the nature of the case, full of all kinds of people with all kinds of views on all kinds of issues. There is no one issue that defines what a Democrat is, even if there does come a point where you can disagree with so many core principles of the party that you should just call yourself something else and get out of the tent.

The Message, The Messenger, And How Democratic Party Unity Is A Two-Way Street

The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”

—Matthew 8:30

A after a recent piece I posted on a reported stupid move being considered by Senate Democrats (“Some Senate Democrats Are, Well, Idiots“), one writer, Jim Hight, told me the following:

Yes, Democrats are their worst enemies. I hope Elizabeth warren takes over the Majority Partly Leader when (and if) Democrats take the Senate. I write “and if” because the party will always lose unless this tiff with the Bernie supporters ends. As long as the in-fighting continues, Republicans will continue to tear the country apart.

Another writer, DG, commenting on Jim Hight’s observation, said this:

…a united party must appear very shortly. Jim Hight suggests Elizabeth Warren as a possible leader to unite the scaredy cats on the left. That may well be a good start but we need more. […]

Of course I voted for Hillary, but I am a Bernie supporter. That is, I very much support his views…we need a very progressive movement. Bernie has started one. You can see it with the protests and marches that are taking place everyday somewhere in this country. It’s an angry, disgusted and desperate cry to stop this dangerous bullshit republican take over before it gets way out of hand. Thank God they are!

I know what I have to say below, which I write with some trepidation, will make some people mad. It will upset some folks. But so be it. I’m here to express my opinion. As a Democrat, I’m here to give you my honest take on what I see and where I think we are going as a party and who should lead us there. Here goes:

It happens that Bernie Sanders was on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” on Tuesday. Sanders appeared with the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez, who is, bless his heart, trying like hell to hold onto the Sanders folks, trying to keep them from bolting from the Democratic Party when it comes time to vote. Sanders and Perez are on what they are calling a “Unity Tour.” Hayes played a video clip of Sanders saying the following:

Our job is to bring millions of people into the political process. Our job is to radically transform the Democratic Party. And when we are united, we are strongest as a party, as a  nation, as a resistance movement.

Hayes then asked Sanders the obvious question:

You’re talking about reforming, reviving, transforming the Democratic Party.  Do you consider yourself a Democrat?

That’s a fair question, isn’t it? Sanders ran as a Democrat in last year’s presidential primaries. His campaign manager said a year ago that Bernie would remain a Democrat after it was all over. And Bernie just said “when we are united, we are strongest as a party.”  But here is how Bernie answered Hayes’ “Do you consider yourself a Democrat?” question:

No. I’m an independent.  And I think if the Democratic Party is going to succeed—and I want to see it succeed —it’s gonna have to open its door to independents. There are probably more independents in this country than Democrats or Republicans. It’s got to open its doors to working people and to young people, create a grassroots party. That’s what we need.

With jaw-dropping audacity, Sanders sat right next to the DNC chairman (whom Sanders opposed during the DNC election process) and said that although he, Bernie Sanders, wanted to “radically transform the Democratic Party,” he didn’t want to become a Democrat. He essentially said he is happily married to some gal named “Independent.” It is that gal, Ms. Independent, to whom he owes his fidelity, his first and final allegiance and loyalty. Okay. I get it. In other words, Bernie wants to not only go home to Ms. Independent at night, but he wants to have a girlfriend on the side in the daytime, one whom he isn’t quite ready to leave Ms. Independent for, but nevertheless one whom he thinks he should get to sleep with while he simultaneously demands she radically change her ways and become the girl of his dreams. Apparently, he wants the Democratic Party to become his perfect mistress.

Well, to hell with that nonsense. Don’t get me wrong, I think many of Bernie’s ideas are something that Democrats could hang their hats on, could run on and win on (Hillary actually ran on many of them, which is why Bernie’s call for “radically” transforming the party makes little sense to me). But we need someone to come along and talk a lot like Bernie does, but do so while actually marrying the party, committing to it, warts and all. Bernie isn’t that guy. Weirdly, he thinks he can reform the party from the outside; he thinks he can change her ways while still going home to Ms. Independent at night. He thinks he can still retain what he thinks is his moral integrity even while he is flirting, sometimes with the crude entitlement of a Bill O’Reilly, with Ms. Democrat. He flirts while talking smack, enticing her with his rap about rich people getting away with murder while the lower and middle classes suffer, using his position of power to dominate her, to exploit her weakness, to make her give in to his demands. In Bernie’s case, the Democratic Party was a campaign fling, the handy dame he used to run for president against Hillary Clinton. He used the party when he wanted something, even if it was something many Democrats wanted, too. But Bernie’s would-be mistress is not, and apparently never will be, his wife. Why? Because the Democratic Party is not something Bernie wants to come home to at night and snuggle with. He’s not the snuggling, spooning type. He seems to be, to put it crudely, the O’Reilly of party politics.

And make no mistake about it. Bernie can talk the talk. He can paint a broad picture of the economic and political landscape that most Democrats, but not all, find appealing. He is the Picasso of populism on the left. Mind you, he’s short on details, but, as we found out from Tr-mp’s Russian-aided triumph, details don’t really matter all that much to the electorate these days. You merely have to have a monster to attack. You have to have a villain to gun down (as Chris Hayes suggested during his Bernie interview). You have to Image result for demon and the pigshave a devil to cast out. How you gun down your villain, how you cast out your devil, is the hard part, of course. But Tr-mp’s razor-thin Electoral College win shows us that the “how” doesn’t much matter, doesn’t interest people all that much in the voting booth. What does interest them, what does matter, is that you say you want to gun down the villain, shoot the bad guy; you say you want to cast out the demon from a possessed system and send it into the swine, and then send the swine over the cliff.

Bernie told Chris Hayes:

What the party has got to focus on are the most important issues facing working people – that’s the decline of the middle class; that’s the need to take on the billionaire class and Wall Street and the insurance companies and bring people together, a) against Trump`s absolutely reactionary agenda, and, b) fight for a progressive agenda which, among other things, includes a Medicare for all single-payer program.

As I said, Bernie is short on details on how to get all that done. Fighting for a single-payer insurance system is music to my ears (and music to the ears of 80% of Democrats and 60% of independents. But someone has to write down the actual notes on paper, complete with the lyrics about how to win that fight and make it happen in a reluctant, splintered Congress. Someone has to tell us how that can be accomplished in a country so divided as ours, with an electorate so susceptible to the right-wing propaganda that would surely come with such a fight. Vermont, Bernie’s own state, tried the single-payer route. It didn’t work out too well.

To reiterate, the details are less important, at this stage, than the rhetoric. Tr-mp doesn’t have much of value to teach anyone, but he did educate us on how one can win an election without a 48-point policy plan. You simply pick out a couple of bad guys, like the Wall Street oligarchs whose handprints are all over Tr-mp and his administration, and go after them, relentlessly. If our next presidential candidate and our congressional candidates in 2018 and 2020 can successfully do that—if we get a Democratic Congress, and a legitimate president in the White’s House—then we can, and will have to, talk details later. Maybe all we can get done at first are much-needed improvements to the Affordable Care Act. Maybe we can get more. But we have to get in power first.

All that leads me to what you will see below in a video from Wednesday’s Rachel Maddow Show. All that leads me to Elizabeth Warren. She is a Democrat. She is actually married, willingly, to the Democratic Party. She recognizes the party is not all it should be, but sees it for what it can be, the vehicle for real reform, the vehicle to bring about the necessary change that Sanders and his followers say they want. But she also realizes that one cannot demand change from outside the party. She realizes that one cannot demand that the pursued radically change before the pursuer will half-heartedly commit. Warren realizes, as her support for Hillary Clinton demonstrated last year, that change comes from a committed relationship, not from a one-sided, I’ll-tell-you-what-I-want-before-I-give-you-my-love affair. She’s in bed with the party. She doesn’t have another lover on the side to whom she can go if the Democratic Party lets her down in this way or that.

And that’s why I prefer her to Bernie Sanders. I’ve always had reservations about Bernie because Bernie has so many reservations about the Democratic Party. I’ve always had trouble trusting Bernie because Bernie has so much trouble trusting Democrats. Commenter Jim Hight above says “the party will always lose unless this tiff with the Bernie supporters ends.” He’s probably right. We do have to work it out. We do have to heal the divisions between the Sanders voters and the Democratic Party. But that’s not a one-sided task, not a mending that can be done only by Democrats kneeling at the feet of an independent Bernie Sanders and asking for his forgiveness and promising we’ll do whatever he wants us to do.

Bernie did a lot to hurt Hillary Clinton and, as an unintended consequence, helped elect Donald Tr-mp. Oh, I know he didn’t mean to. I know he finally got on board in the end. But he owes the party some kind of a mild mea culpa, some kind of acknowledgement that, long before he eventually came on the anti-Tr-mp general election campaign team, that he did real damage to the person he had to know, as time and primary elections went by, would be the party’s general election candidate. At the very least he owes it to the party to, for God’s sake, join it. He needs to become one of us. He needs to commit. He needs to stop his flirting. He needs to curb his I-am-entitled-to-reform-a-party-I don’t-belong-to arrogance.

Below you will find the entire episode of Wednesday’s Rachel Maddow Show. I could have chopped it up, but I decided to use the whole thing for two reasons. One is that her opening, pre-Warren segment will piss you off and make you realize why Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are absolutely right about who it is that currently runs and ruins the system, using wealth as their tool. The second reason is that you will see why Elizabeth Warren, as reluctant as she is to become a national candidate to run against Tr-mp in 2020 (she has a Senate election in 2018, which takes priority), is someone who is a real Democrat, someone who really believes the party can be the vehicle to do the things that both she and Bernie, and so many progressives, believe should be done. Rachel’s interview with her, and the way Warren conducted herself and answered the questions, shows why her fidelity to the Democratic Party and her belief in its potential means much more to me than Bernie sitting next to the chairman of our party and refusing to commit to it.

Here is last night’s segment in full. You owe it to yourself, as a Democrat, as an independent, or simply as an interested observer of politics, to watch it all:

Clinton & Warren?

I’ve thought about it and thought about it.

Everyone is wondering whether Hillary Clinton, after that amazing appearance with Elizabeth Warren in Ohio on Monday, is able to throw her notorious caution to the wind and pick Warren as her running mate.

After dismissing the idea for months, I would now say there is a good chance she is ready. After Warren enthusiastically embraced Clinton—“I’m here today because I’m with her! Yes, her!”—the former First Lady’s speech, full of praise for Warren, contained a passage that, with Senator Warren standing just behind her, stood out to me:

I got into this race because I wanted to even the odds for people who have the odds stacked against them.  And this is not a time for half-measures.  To build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top, we’ve got to go big and we’ve got to go bold.

One way to go bold would be to go Warren.

I have been trying to figure out whether Warren would help or hurt Democratic Party chances this fall. I’m still not sure, but I’m starting to think that, on balance, picking Warren may help us win. Before I get to the positives, though, let me list some of the negatives, some of them obvious:

  • If Clinton/Warren wins in November, Democrats will, at least temporarily, lose a senate seat in Massachusetts.
  • Her age—she’s 67. Hillary will be 69 by election day.
  • Her almost total lack of foreign policy-national security credentials and experience (although Clinton has enough for two people).
  • The whole woman-woman dynamic in a country that has yet to elect even its first female president.  (And, yes, I know about the whole man-man dynamic since the 18th century.)
  • Warren is relatively unknown among folks who don’t closely follow politics until about now, which means her record can be distorted and her political persona can be partly shaped by Republican propaganda (“She’s a socialist!”).
  • Her presence on the ticket will certainly drive some anti-Trump Republicans away from possibly supporting Clinton and definitely fire up some lukewarm Trumpkins.
  • She may tend to rhetorically and theatrically outshine Clinton at times, but, then, isn’t Clinton selling experience and steadiness and wonkiness?

The upside of a Warren pick would include the following:

  • She is Bernie Sanders without, well, being Bernie Sanders. She would help consolidate and solidify support among skeptical progressives.
  • Her Trump attacks. No one has done it better than she has, and she does seem, as Hillary Clinton mentioned on Monday, to get under Trump’s razor-thin skin.
  • Although she is relatively unknown in the Midwest, her genuine Bernie-esque message should play well from Iowa to Ohio to Pennsylvania, as well as Wisconsin and Michigan.
  • Her non-endorsement of Sanders shows she has a feel for the dynamics of American politics in general and Democratic Party politics in particular. She is progressive without being uncompromisingly dogmatic like Sanders. She seems to understand that establishment figures like Clinton and establishment-run parties tend to get more done because, hey, they tend to get elected.
  • Unlike Sarah Palin, to whom lately she has been compared, she’s educated—can you imagine Palin teaching anything at any college, let alone Harvard?
  • But she’s not a typical member of the so-called liberal elite. She’s from Oklahoma and was raised in a lower middle-class family and comes across as genuinely folksy. In a particularly poignant part of her pre-Clinton speech on Monday, she said:

    So today I want to talk about values. My daddy sold fencing and carpeting, he ended up as a maintenance man. And after his heart attack, my mom answered phones at Sears to keep our family above water. And here are some of the values that I learned, up close and personal.

  • Her three brothers served in the military. One, she says, was “career military” who was part of “288 combat missions in Vietnam.” Another, after leaving the Air Force, “got a good union job operating a crane.” And her youngest brother started a small business after some time in the Army and is now depending on Social Security.
  • She worked her way up the ladder through determination and hard work. Her story is the “classic” American story.
  • She was a Republican until late in her life.  Some 20 years ago she saw the light, which means she can critique the Republican Party in a way Hillary Clinton can’t. And she can speak to folks who aren’t hard-core partisans, those famous “independents.”
  • She’s been divorced and remarried—yes, that can be a plus in politics these days.

This collection of strengths and weaknesses isn’t exhaustive, of course. But it gives you an idea of just how hard the decision is. Warren or Senator Tim Kaine—a good pick, too, despite attacks from Bernie supporters—or someone else?

Normally, VP picks aren’t ultimately game-changers. But this year, as we all know, is very different. Crazy stuff has happened. There’s more crazy stuff to come. And, thus, the Libertarian Party ticket will capture some significant number of anti-Trump (and anti-Hillary) votes. Jill Stein, of the Green Party, is polling too high for my tastes. Every single vote of hers is a vote Hillary Clinton should but won’t get. Stein may end up being this cycle’s Ralph Nader.

And then there is Bernie Sanders. He hasn’t lifted a finger, as of yet, to help Hillary Clinton keep an arrogant and bigoted and dangerously dumb Trump from obtaining presidential power. For all we know, the finger he ends up lifting may be his middle one. Bernie is hard at work trying to force a carbon tax into the Democratic Party platform and thereby force Democratic candidates to defend it against vicious and potentially effective Republican attacks—a carbon tax, by the way, that may be helpful in the fight against climate change but will never pass Congress. So, who knows about him and his strange brand of politics.

In the mean time, there is Elizabeth Warren—again, the “go bold” choice. I, for one, never get tired of hearing her say what she said on Monday:

Now Donald Trump says he’ll make America great again. It’s right there, it’s stamped on the front of his goofy hat. You want to see goofy? Look at him in that hat.

But when Donald Trump says, ‘Great,’ I ask, ‘Great for who, exactly?’ For millions of kids struggling to pay for an education? For millions of seniors barely surviving on Social Security? For families that don’t fly to Scotland to play golf?

When Donald Trump says he’ll make America great, he means make it even greater for rich guys just like Donald Trump. Great for the guys who don’t care how much they’ve already squeezed from everyone else. Great for the guys who always want more.

Because that’s who Donald Trump is—the guy who wants it all for himself. And watch out, because he will crush you into the dirt to get whatever he wants. That’s who he is. Just look at the evidence.

Donald Trump cheered on Britain’s current crisis, which has sucked billions of dollars out of your retirement accounts, because he said, hey, it might bring more rich people to his new golf course.

He cheered on the 2008 housing crash because he could scoop up more real estate on the cheap.

And he cheered on students desperate enough to sign up for his fake university so he could bleed them dry and turn a profit for himself.

What kind of a man does that? What kind of a man roots for people to lose their jobs? To lose their homes? To lose their life savings? I’ll tell you what kind of man: a small, insecure money-grubber who fights for nobody but himself.

What kind of a man? A nasty man who will never become President of the United States!

Damn. “A nasty man”? No wonder she gets under Trump’s skin, thin or otherwise.

[photo cred: Clinton and Warren: Aaron Josefczyk, Reuters; Warren in Iowa: Steve Pope, Getty Images]

Liz Can Do More Than Castrate Drumpfs

There is no doubt that Elizabeth Warren has turned Drumpf into The Orange Eunuch.

Like a crazed squirrel, he can look into every nook and cranny of Drumpf Tower, search all over Manhattan, even take a peek into Chris Christie’s lunch box. But Drumpf still won’t find his nuts. The senator from Massachusetts has not-so-surgically removed them right in front of the world and is about to take them across this country as a—excuse me—”testament” to what a strong woman can do to a “thin-skinned, racist bully” and a “loud, nasty, thin-skinned fraud.”

But as her appearance on Rachel Maddow’s show last night proved, she is more than a eunuch-maker. She is a powerful voice for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party’s values.

After telling St. Rachel that Democrats, winding down a hard-fought primary, “need to start thinking about all of this together” and focusing on the differences between Democrats and Republicans, she said this:

WARREN: But, you know, I want to add another part to this because I think it really matters here. And I like our talking back and forth but I want to get this on the table and get it on the table early. Hillary Clinton won. And she won because she’s a fighter, she’s out there, she’s tough. And I think this is what we need.

Look at who she is. For 25 years, she’s been taking the incomings, right? The right wing has thrown everything they possibly can at her. And what does she do? A lot of people would just hang up their spurs. They’d say, “You know, I’ve had enough of this.” And she doesn’t. What she’s done is she gets back up and she gets back in the warren endorsing clinton.jpgfight.

As a Democrat, one of the things that frustrates me the most is there are a lot of times we just don’t get in the fight. We ask “pretty please” if we can have things, or we make the argument for why it is the best thing to do, and then wait patiently for the other side to agree to come along. We negotiate. We start our opening position by negotiating. You know, and I get that. I get the reason that you should be willing to negotiate sometimes. But you also ought to be willing to throw a punch.

And there are a lot of things that people say about Hillary Clinton. But nobody says that she doesn’t know how to throw a punch.

MADDOW: As somebody — I agree with you, both on the perseverance and on the fighter characterization of Hillary Clinton. I think that’s the most important way to understand her political power, her willingness to never give up. We have gone 240 years in this country without a woman ever being nominated for president, let alone elected one.

WARREN: Yes.

MADDOW: Her aggression and her stance as a fighter in politics, does that make her more palatable to a country who apparently has a real problem with this concept, or less? Does that make it harder for her?

WARREN: You know, to me, this isn’t about “palatable” anymore. This is about what we need to survive. This is about whether or not we are going to have a country that just works for the Donald Trumps of the world, that just works for a handful of the largest corporations of the world, or a country that really is building an economic future for all of us.

And yes, I think having a fighter in the lead, a female fighter in the lead, is exactly what this country needs.

Later she talked about something that all Democrats believe—not just Bernie supporters—and because of her credentials, she could talk about it with all credibility:

WARREN: There are so many more people on our side. And I’m not just talking Democrats here. You talk about those core issues, about Social Security, about college, about raising the minimum wage, about reining in Wall Street. You look at those core issues and somewhere between 60 percent and 75 percent of all of America, that’s Democrats, Republicans, independents, libertarians, vegetarians. They sign up and say,“Yes, I’m for that.”

So, the question is then, Rachel — why hasn’t that happened? Why hasn’t it happened?

The answer is because Washington, this place where we are right now. It is the bubble. It’s the bubble that’s created by the money. It is the bubble that is created by the contributions, by the lobbyists, by every part of this tight little circle. Our only chance to break out of that is that we got to say, against your concentrated money and power, “We’re going to put up our voices and our votes and we’re going to be here. We’re going to be here in these elections. And we’re going to make sure that the people who run for office and get elected are the ones who are going to work for the American people.”

That’s what this is all about.

Amen. And amen.

Our Criminal “Justice” System

Democrats of all persuasions, Bernie-ites and Bernie-lites, should be grateful for Saint, I mean, Senator Elizabeth Warren. Everyone should spend nine minutes watching her “two legal systems” speech below:

 

Here’s a link to the report she mentions in the video (“Rigged Justice: 2016: How Weak Enforcement Let’s Corporate Offenders Off Easy”). The report, which Warren’s office released,

highlights 20 of the most egregious civil and criminal cases during the past year in which federal settlements failed to require meaningful accountability to deter future wrongdoing and to protect taxpayers and families. […]

The 20 cases highlighted in Rigged Justice illustrate problematic enforcement patterns by federal agencies across a range of areas, from financial crimes to student loan rip-offs to auto safety violations to environmental disasters. In many of the cases described in the report, corporations reached settlements with the federal government that required no admission of guilt and held no individual executives accountable.

 

Humping Jerry Jones, Or, How Our “Democracy” Works

There was, in case you missed it, a celebration of American democracy on Tuesday. Family, friends, and big money folks were on Capitol Hill to usher in the latest incarnation of Congress.

Nancy Pelosi gave a gracious speech, just before she passed on the ceremonial giant gavel to the Grim Weeper, John Boehner. And as an African-American president continued to occupy the White’s House, Congressman John Conyers, an African-American Democrat who is now the longest serving member in the People’s House, swore in the Grim Weeper as Speaker.

And an anything-but-grim Joe Biden, who has more fun being Vice President than he is probably entitled to have, had a lot of fun administering the oath of office to newly-elected Senators. So happy was he in his constitutional role, that he didn’t want it to stop. He reportedly asked the television crew if any of them wanted to be sworn in. That’s a man who loves his job, whatever his job is when he’s not swearing in people.

All of this made our democratic system look good. For a day at least, everyone was gathered around the Capitol campfire and you could almost feel the warmth from the collective breath of the Founders.

But our system is not all it should be. Vox reported that over the 2010, 2012, and 2014 elections, the 46 Democrats (including the two independents who caucus with them) who will sit as a minority in the U.S. Senate for the next two years actually “got 20 million more votes” than the 54 Republicans who will control the chamber. As Vox notes, though, “Democrats got more Senate seats than their vote share suggested they should” in the 2008 and 2012 elections:

The problem isn’t that the deck is stacked in favor of Republicans. The problem is that the deck is stacked in favor of small states, which receive equal representation in the Senate despite dramatic variance in population. The Senate is a profoundly anti-democratic body and should be abolished.

I’ve preached that sermon before. Many of us know about this gigantic flaw in our system but it’s not going to change anytime soon. Thus, we don’t have a genuine representative democracy. Maybe that’s because not enough time has passed since our founding. Maybe we are still a young democracy. Maybe we are still in a protracted democratic adolescence and we will continue to grow into a more representative adulthood. Maybe someday we will fix such anti-democracy.

Or maybe we are sick. Maybe there is a disease among us that is stunting our growth. Maybe there is more wrong than just that big state-small state problem.

First, consider that although this is the most diverse Congress in history, 83% of our national legislators are white and less than 9% are black. Only 6% are Hispanic. Even more troubling is the fact that 80% of them are men.

Of the 56 new members on the Republican side, 95% of them are white—47 of them are white men and 6 are white women. Yes, I am still talking about the most diverse Congress in history. (On the Democratic side, of the 18 new members, only 61% are white—8 of them are white men and 3 are white women.)

As far as religion, while only about 73% of American adults identify as Christians, 92% of our legislators do—and only one of the 301 Republicans in Congress is not a Christian. Perhaps more disturbing, while 20% of Americans consider themselves “unaffiliated” with any particular religious group, only one person in Congress—not one percent, but one person!—dares to claim she is unaffiliated (Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona).

Now let’s look at wealth. In the last Congress, there were at least 188 millionaires, which is about 35% (and given the intentionally murky rules that govern disclosure of wealth, there is likely more wealthy legislators than we know). Go ahead, survey your neighborhood and see if 35% of them are millionaires. Nah, I’m guessing you don’t have to ask.

Maybe, though, you might want to ask your neighbors about their net worth. The median net worth for an American adult is about $45,000. Yet, according to Roll Call, last year’s “median lawmaker” had “a minimum net worth of $456,522.” Again, I’m guessing you don’t have to ask your neighbors if they’re as wealthy as a median lawmaker.

Now we get to the sickness, which is related to wealthy people and their disproportionate influence on what is supposed to be American democracy. I want to illustrate this point by way of this now famous picture of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie making love to Dallas Cowboys owner and big-time Republican Jerry Jones last Sunday:

I hope they had paper towels handy in Jones’ luxury box.

It turns out that Christie, who (along with the governor of New York) oversees the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is now in hot water over the free tickets and free travel Jones has supplied to Christie so that the governor could attend games and hump the owner, unashamedly, on national TV.

Christie, according to International Business Times, “personally pushed the Port Authority to approve a lucrative contract for a firm part-owned by Jones.” That contract was “to operate the observation deck on the top floor of One World Trade Center.” Who is surprised? People don’t toss money and gifts at politicians just for the hell of it. Just ask former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell—when he gets out of the hoosegow.

At the end of last year, Politico published a piece by Kenneth Vogel (“Big money breaks out”) that began with the following:

The 100 biggest campaign donors gave $323 million in 2014 — almost as much as the $356 million given by the estimated 4.75 million people who gave $200 or less, a POLITICO analysis of campaign finance filings found.

Worst still is that Politico’s analysis did not “include nonprofit groups that spent at least $219 million — and likely much more — but aren’t required to reveal their donors’ identities.”

Politico also notes what it calls,

a surprising decline in the number of regular Americans contributing to campaigns, as well as a shift in political power and money to outside groups unburdened by the contribution restrictions handcuffing the political parties and their candidates.

Taken together, the trend lines reflect a new political reality in which a handful of superaffluent partisans can exert more sway over the campaign landscape than millions of donors of more average means. And that’s to say nothing of the overwhelming majority of voters who never spend so much as a single dime on politics.

The article quotes Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard law professor and an activist trying to rid our system of big money:

As you see that your democracy is controlled by a smaller and smaller number of funders, you have less and less interest to be engaged in it.

And if people are less engaged in democracy, then democracy is not really democracy, is it?

But the system does work for those who fund it, that’s for sure. That is why they fund it. Saint and Senator Elizabeth Warren gave an important speech on Wednesday before the AFL-CIO. Part of the speech was about what certainly will once again rear its ugly tax-cutting head now that Republicans control Congress: trickle-down economics. She said:

George Bush Sr. called it voodoo economics. He was right, and let’s call it out for what it is: Trickle-down was nothing more than the politics of helping the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful, and it cut the legs out from under America’s middle class. The trickle-down experiment that began in the Reagan years failed America’s middle class.

I have a pretty good picture of that failure, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal:

job growth from wall street journal

That ugly looking hole is voodoo economics working its magic on the American people. It’s the result of what happens when big money people get their way, sometimes by influencing both political parties. Warren said:

Pretty much the whole Republican Party — and, if we’re going to be honest, too many Democrats — talked about the evils of ‘big government’ and called for deregulation. It sounded good, but it was really about tying the hands of regulators and turning loose big banks and giant international corporations to do whatever they wanted to do.

Warren acknowledged that things are better now than when Obama took office and gave him credit. But she also said that, “Despite these cheery numbers, America’s middle class is in deep trouble.” How deep?

These families are working harder than ever, but they can’t get ahead. Opportunity is slipping away. Many feel like the game is rigged against them—and they are right. The game is rigged against them…. The world has changed beneath the feet of America’s working families.

I have another pretty good picture of what a rigged game looks like, also courtesy of The Wall Street Journal:

average hourly incomes change from previous year

Trickle-down economics leads to flatlining wages. Who could have guessed that? That’s about as easy as guessing that tossing free NFL luxury-box tickets at a hump-ready Chris Christie will get you some bidness on top of One World Trade Center.

So, what do Republicans, traditional warriors on behalf of the moneyed class, propose to do about the flat line that represents the lack of earnings growth for average Americans? What will be one of the first acts of the 114th Congress—you know, the Congress that is supposed to represent we the people but was pretty much bought and paid for by big donors? Voodoo, anyone? Yes, sir:

House Republicans on Tuesday formally adopted a controversial change to congressional math rules that will most likely make it easier to cut taxes.

As Ronald Reagan—who first brought us voodoo economics—might say, “There they go again.”

 

Remarks And Asides

A South Carolina Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, a former chaplain in the Army Reserve named Ray Moore, recently called American public education “a godless, pagan school system” that “cannot be fixed.” He also said about the Culture War, which his side has been waging for decades, the following:

We cannot win this war we’re in asray moore long as we keep handing our children over to the enemy to educate…As conservatives and Christians, if you think you’re going to win this war you’re in, and leave your children in those schools, it will not happen…We are losing because we are handing our own children over to the enemy.

I think these folks are catching on.

________________________________

Speaking of religious zealots, the KKK has started a ‘hood watch in a town in Pennsylvania:

kkk neighborhood watch

The Imperial Lizard of the Traditionalist American Knights of the KKK said:

It’s just like any neighborhood watch program. It’s not targeting any specific ethnicity. We would report anything we see to law enforcement. We don’t hate people. We are an organization who looks out for our race. We believe in racial separation. God created each species after its kind and saw that it was good.

See? We are making progress with these folks. At least they now think black people are “good,” even though they’d be a whole lot better if they were white. From the group’s headquarter’s on the web (the physical headquarters, wouldn’t you know it, are right here in Missouri), we find:

WE STAND FOR WHITE SUPREMACY. Distinction among the races is not accidental but designed. This is clearly brought out in the one book that tells authoritatively of the origin of the races. This distinction is not incidental, but is of the vastest import and indicates the wisdom of the divine mind. It is not temporary but is as abiding as the ages that have not yet ceased to roll. The supremacy of the White Race must be maintained, or be overwhelmed by the rising tide of color…Purity of the white blood must be maintained. One of the crying evils of the times is the mixture of white blood with that of Negro and other mongrel races. 

How’d all that dark blood get mixed up with that white blood? Oh, they’ve got an answer:

The guilt for this state of affairs rests upon those members of the White Race who for a moment of sexual pleasure have betrayed their own kind and betrayed their own blood.

I confess I don’t get how God could be wise enough to create a holy and pure race like the white race and then be dumb enough to create in the white race a lust for the “Negro and other mongrel races.” I suppose even God can have days when he’s just not on his game, but that seems to me like a pretty big boo-boo.

______________________________________

Speaking of boo-boos, why couldn’t God have created a group of white people who don’t have any desire to be around black people? Oh, I guess he did. Some call them Republicans.

Don’t believe me? Let’s again go back to the Traditionalist American Knights of the KKK, which has a political philosophy that sounds very familiar:

WE MUST KEEP THIS A WHITE MAN’S COUNTRY. Only by doing this can we be faithful to the foundations laid by our forefathers:
a. This Republic was established by White Men.
b. It was established for White Men.

How about a little guessing game? What political party comes to mind when you read that? Yep! You got it:

______________________________________

Speaking of white Republicans, we come to Spencer Bachus, a congressman from Alabama.

Bachus, who, thank GOP Jesus, is retiring, deserves special recognition for being the kind of phony politician that everyone should despise.  Dave Weigel writes about an episode in bankster-chasing Elizabeth Warren’s recently released book:

In A Fighting Chance, her new memoir, the senator from Massachusetts recalls when she was the hamstrung, unconfirmed adviser who was supposed to run the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Lacking access to the CFPB’s full powers, she darted through Congress, taking meetings with skeptics. A 2010 encounter with Bachus—months before he became House Financial Services chairman—stood out to her.

“He spoke movingly about people who had been swindled,” writes Warren. “He really seemed to feel their pain. He concluded by saying that if he had more courage, he’d go after the people who did that to families. I was stunned by his use of the word courage and his small, tight, smile.”

Was he climbing on board with Warren? Had the wizard given him courage? No and no. Warren remembers his “accent twanging” as he explained his next move: “I’ll go after the consumer agency, but I hope you understand, it isn’t personal.”

No, it’s not personal. It’s just disgusting. I think I prefer the honesty of Chaplain Ray Moore and the Traditionalist American Knights of the KKK to the kind of cynical politics represented by Spencer Bachus, who not only plays deceptive games like Elizabeth Warren described, but once said to the Birmingham News that,

in Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.

Bachus may not be quite as honest as the KKK, but he too has a favorite color: green.

______________________________

Finally, and again speaking of white Republicans, we have Senator Dean Heller of Nevada. Last week, after Harry Reid called Cliven Bundy supporters “domestic terrorists,” Heller said that he had “a very different view”:

What Senator Reid may call domestic terrorists, I call patriots.

Yes, he called a group of would-be thugs, who came armed and ready to fight the federal gubmint, “patriots.” Again, I think I prefer the standard of the Traditionalist American Knights of the KKK over Senator Heller’s standard of patriotism. At least the racists pledge to obey the law:

We stand for the enforcement of law by the regularly constituted authorities. This order does not take the law into its own hands and will not tolerate acts of lawlessness on the part of its members.

It’s pretty bad when a group of white supremacists, claiming God as their KKKreator and KKKristianity as their religion, hold a higher view of the law than a Republican senator from Nevada.

False Symmetry, Again

An excited conservative commenter called my attention to a column published in my local paper. The column was written by two long-time Washington insiders, Cokie and Steve Roberts.

Cokie, currently an analyst and commentator for, respectively, NPR and ABC News (and lately appearing now and then on MSNBC), is the daughter of a Democratic congressman (who was once Majority Leader in the House and who died in a 1972 plane crash) and of a Democratic congresswoman (who was elected to replace her husband and who served from 1973 to 1991). Both of Cokie’s parents served the good folks who live in and around New Orleans. Steve Roberts, a magna cum laude Harvard graduate, has worked as a journalist for The New York Times and The Washington Post and for U.S. News and World Report. He also plays the analyst and commentator role on both radio and television.

You get it by now. These two are the very definition of “Beltway insiders.”

The column that so excited my conservative commenter, titled in most papers as ‘The rise of liberal self-delusion,” began this way:

The civil war ripping through the Republican Party is familiar by now. But a similar battle inside the Democratic Party is just starting to emerge. Orthodox liberals are trying to mimic the tea party and impose political correctness on moderate apostates.

Ahh, I thought to myself.  It was only a matter of time. It was only a matter of time before some prominent Democratic commentators joined the anti-liberal Third Way crowd by comparing what recently energized  liberals are doing to what Tea Party nuts like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have been doing for some time now. There apparently is a law of symmetry in the physics of polite political punditry that occasionally requires the obligatory “both sides are guilty” column or TV rant, and the Roberts duo did not disappoint.

They unbelievably and absurdly compared the nomination of Tea Party freaks like Christine “I’m not a witch” O’Donell and Sharron “Second Amendment remedies” Angle and Todd “legitimate rape” Akin to Elizabeth Warren and New York’s Bill de Blasio. They took the hopeful, if unrealistic, words of a very liberal and very excitable guy, Adam Green (who co-founded the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group that dares to help liberals run political campaigns as liberals and, much to the chagrin of Wall Streeters, sometimes win as liberals), and turned those words into “nonsense” and “self delusion.” It’s as if the anti-liberals of the Third Way, that group of mostly wealthy quasi-Democrats who work and play in Manhattan’s Financial District, had dictated this column from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

It’s not that there isn’t a point to be made about ideological “purists” who think that their brand of politics is a perfect fit in every nook and cranny of the country.  Of course it is ridiculous, at this point in time, for liberals and progressives to think that a bona fide left-winger could win in a bona fide backwater state like Arkansas (the example the two pundits used was former Democratic senator Blanche Lincoln, who was challenged in the 2010 primary in Arkansas by “a left-wing primary opponent”). I have criticized some liberal Democrats myself (including Adam Green) for not recognizing the sobering reality that in places like where I live, here in Petticoat Joplin, running on in-your-face orthodox liberalism is not a winning strategy for knocking Republican Ozark Billy Long off his taxpayer-subsidized D.C. bar stool. So, it’s not bad advice to warn Democrats that ideological purity can be harmful to the overall cause.

But for two prominent Democratic columnists to say that well-meaning liberal Democrats “want to impose their orthodoxies on everyone else”—just like what they call the ‘Ted Cruz Wing” of the Republican Party wants to do—is beyond absurd. The extremism of Ted Cruz and other teapartiers is real extremism, representing reactionary, roll-back-the-clock danger to the country. Does Cokie and Steve Roberts think that trans-vaginal probes are the moral and political equivalent of, say, tougher banking laws? Huh? Liberals are not authoritarians seeking to force Americans to bow their knees to Iron Age biblical morality or to the politics derived from selective readings, or from convenient interpretations, of the Old and New Testaments. They are mostly people who think that the wealthiest country in the history of the world ought not to have so many working class folks struggling to survive in the midst of all that wealth, and that an appeal to common sense and decency should be sufficient to make the point.

The Roberts’ column, as an apparent tribute to Beltway blindness, puts Elizabeth Warren, as sober and sane a thinker as you will find in politics, in the category of “the loony left.” As if economic populism is on a par with kill-the-New-Deal conservatism. As if fighting for reproductive and gay and voting rights is equally as extreme as shutting down Planned Parenthood and promoting Bible-inspired homophobia and making it harder for minorities to vote. As if believing in science is the same as, well, not believing in science.

“This is a moderate, pragmatic country. Any party that ignores that truth is doomed to defeat,” the D.C. pundit power couple say with Third Party conviction. Yeah, well, moderation and pragmatism are not the same things. Political moderation is a product of compromise between competing visions, even if the competing visions themselves are often fierce and intense and far from moderate. Pragmatism in politics is the idea that compromise is sometimes necessary to solve problems. In other words, pragmatism leads to compromise, which leads to moderation. The salient point is that one can be a left- or right-winger, committed to one’s principles, committed to fighting for them, but still be a pragmatist who settles for some middle-of-the-road compromise to get things done, if that is truly the only way to get things done.

And when you see it that way, when you see it in the sense of getting things done, of making the government work, you can clearly see that there is no comparison between enthusiastic but ultimately pragmatic liberals and authoritarian Tea Party conservatives, folks who won’t compromise with anyone and who would shut the entire government down or ruin our national credit worthiness, hurting millions of people and costing billions of dollars, merely to make an ultimately fleeting political point.

Sadly, Cokie and Steve Roberts, guardians of the mythical “center” in American politics, can’t, or won’t, see the difference.

Claire McCaskill’s “Third Way” Chair And What She Should Do With It

“Well, Senator McCaskill, which side are you on? People who rely on Social Security to get by, or Wall Street movers and shakers?”

—Michael Bersin, Show Me Progress

My only useful United States Senator is, of course, Claire McCaskill. As a liberal, I have defended her many, many times, despite the fact that she does not subscribe to all of my liberal views. And I have defended her despite the fact that she would never, not in a thousand light years, refer to herself as a liberal. But I respect the political reality here in mixed-up Missouri. This isn’t New Jersey. Wait a minute. New Jersey isn’t New Jersey anymore.

In any case, Senator McCaskill, who often—too often for my tastes—brags about being a centrist, is an honorary co-chair of a public policy group called “Third Way,” a group that is causing third way logoquite a negative stir among activist Democrats.

I want to direct you to the group’s own definition of what it is about, which begins this way:

Third Way represents Americans in the “vital center” — those who believe in pragmatic solutions and principled compromise, but who too often are ignored in Washington.

That is, in fact, who Claire McCaskill says she is. She has many times talked about her pragmatism and her middle-of-the-road credentials. She even campaigned on them in 2012. And while I agree that compromise is often part of a healthy political process, some folks who fashion themselves as moderates think the compromise should happen at the beginning of the process, not at the end. This is an incredibly important point. Moderation in politics ought to be defined as what is left over after a vigorous fight between visions, not the vision itself. Here’s more from the group’s website:

Our mission is to advance moderate policy and political ideas.

What? No one can “advance” a moderate policy or political ideas. Why? Because if that is where you start, if you start in the middle, the compromise will always be toward the reactionaries because change has a tendency to scare people. These Third Way guys have to know that. As with similar efforts in the past, “moderate” means allowing conservatives to frame the economic issues in terms of debt and deficits, and not in terms of people and empowerment. Thus, the apparent purpose of Third Way (which has been around since 2005) is to shoot the liberal lions in the Democratic Party, or, to put it more kindly, to capture them and put them in zoos so they can do no harm to the interests of those, mostly moneyed Wall Streeters, who fund so-called centrist groups like Third Way.

As you have no doubt heard by now, last week a couple of Third Wayers, the group-think tank’s president and its senior vice president for policy, published a piece (Economic Populism Is a Dead End for Democrats”) in, yep, The Wall Street Journal. The piece might be considered the loudest shot so far heard in what the self-described centrists apparently want to be an all-out war for the soul of the Democratic Party.

The authors, sounding like any right-wing talk radio host you know, attacked Bill de Blasio, an unashamed liberal who will soon become the next mayor of New York, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has become a hero among liberals and progressives and anyone who can see the difference between people and corporations. The reason for the attack on these two liberals was because of what the authors called their “populist political and economic fantasy.” When you get away from the Limbaugh-like description, what the shoot-the-lions, Wall Street-friendly folks at Third Way are attacking is the idea, advanced by Senator Warren and others, that we should increase Social Security benefits, not look for ways to slash them.

She told Mother Jones, in response to the Third Way article attacking her, that,

We should stop having a conversation about cutting Social Security a little bit or a lot.

Yes. Democrats, including President Obama, should stop agreeing with Republicans about cutting the most effective government social program in history. And Senator McCaskill should relinquish her “honorary” chair title at Third Way. Why? Because McCaskill, running against teapartier Todd Akin in 2012, essentially ran as something of an economic populist herself.

Six weeks before the election, the St Louis Beacon reported on McCaskill’s criticism of Mitt Romney’s nutty remarks “disparaging Americans who don’t pay income taxes”:

“Congressman Akin has made similar type statements,” McCaskill said, “talking about the ‘velvet chains’ of government dependency…”

Such comments by Akin and Romney, she continued, “just show they are out of touch with so many Missourians who have worked hard all their lives, who have retired, and who believed that Social Security would be there for them, and believe that Medicare would be there for them.”

McCaskill’s point during the conference call was to paint Akin as an “extremist” on such issues, citing his campaign statements criticizing both programs.

“He wants to privatize, voucherize” Medicare, she said, and also privatize Social Security.

McCaskill said that the financial problem facing Social Security could be fixed simply by increasing the cap. Now, any income over roughly $110,000 is not subject to the Social Security tax.

“Simply changing the cap,” she said, “secures (Social Security) for 75 years.”

As for Medicare, a program that the Third Way moneyed elites ostensibly want to save by making a “grand bargain” with Republicans, McCaskill also played the economic populist card:

Jim Hagan, a retired teacher and coach in his 70s from Springfield, Mo., recounted the numerous health problems that he and his wife recently have encountered. “We’d be totally bankrupt if we had to pay” for all the surgeries and medical bills, he said. Medicare, said Hagan, “saves lives, including mine.”

McCaskill contends that the GOP approach, as proposed by now-Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, is to allocate a certain annual amount to the elderly and then tell them “now it’s your problem” to find insurance coverage.

Hagan said that most elderly, including himself, wouldn’t be able to obtain insurance because of pre-existing conditions.

McCaskill’s campaign has focused heavily on Medicare, Social Security and government-backed student loans.

Now, if that isn’t the same kind of economic populism that Third Way honchos attacked in The Wall Street Journal, please tell me what it is. And tell me why Claire McCaskill would continue to be an “honorary” co-chair—co-chair!—of a group so adamantly opposed to what she ran on just a year ago?

Not only that, as The Nation reported, in order to raise funds, Third Way hired one of the top corporate lobbying firms in Washington—a firm whose “largest client is the US Chamber of Commerce.” The same Chamber of Commerce that hammered Claire McCaskill in 2012! Something is wrong with that picture.

The Nation also noted how “several Third Way trustees gave campaign money to Mitt Romney.” Huh? Remember the gist of that Romney campaign? Most of us are moochers and President Obama was some kind of left-winger who was going to turn the country into a European socialist state quotefull of even more moochers. How can Senator McCaskill co-chair a group that has as trustees people who invested in Mittens?

Now we have HuffPo reporting that one of the writers of the Third Way piece in last week’s WSJ admits that Elizabeth Warren’s liberalism was beginning to gain traction and the money-men had to move fast. Jim Kessler, Third Way’s senior vice president for policy who co-authored the infamous op-ed, said:

The impetus was really — we saw after the most recently, this push that okay, it’s time to really move the national Democratic Party to a much more liberal agenda, in this case, Senator Warren was the standard bearer — she’s on the cover of a lot of magazines. We were a bit alarmed by that…

That Social Security plan was the final moment for us. That Social Security plan had been out there but really languishing — because Senator Warren has such a powerful compelling voice, she started talking about it, and it suddenly it became much more talked about and viable alternative.

As I said, the “Social Security plan” that scared the Democrat out of those wealthy “Democrats” at Third Way is very closely related, if not identical, to what Senator McCaskill told Missourians she supported, when she was seeking our votes in 2012. And if Senator McCaskill meant what she said about Social Security last year, if she truly meant it, then she should not only give Third Way its honorary chair back, she should give it back by publicly pounding its pooh-bahs over the heads with it.

senator mccaskill and third way

Liberalism And The American Worker

It’s all pretty simple really. American workers are producing more at work and bringing less dough home.

HuffPo reports that Senator and Saint Elizabeth Warren has given some love  to the results of a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, which, she said, shows that,

If we started in 1960 and we said that as productivity goes up, that is as workers are producing more, then the minimum wage is going to go up the same. And if that were the case then the minimum wage today would be about $22 an hour.

Here are a couple of graphs that back up that claim:

minimum wage and productivity

You see the gap between productivity and the real minimum wage in the bottom graph? Who reaps the benefits of that gap? And as for the top graph, Elizabeth Warren wants to know:

…with a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, what happened to the other $14.75? It sure didn’t go to the worker.

The what? The worker? Someone in Congress is worried about the worker? Yes, it’s true. In fact, there are more than a few of them and guess what? They’re all liberal, I said, liberal, Democrats! Imagine that. Have you ever heard a conservative Republican wonder out loud why workers aren’t getting more of the benefits of the ginormous increase in productivity? Huh? Of course you haven’t.

In any case, Warren made her remarks last week during a Senate subcommittee hearing and they were directed to Dr. Arindrajit Dub, a professor from UMass who happens to know something about the minimum wage because, uh, he studied it. As HuffPo notes:

Dube went on to note that if minimum wage incomes had grown over that period at the same pace as it had for the top 1 percent of income earners, the minimum wage would actually be closer to $33 an hour than the current $7.25.

Of course, even liberal Democrats aren’t quite bold enough to ask for the whole enchilada, only this:

Warren went on to argue that raising the federal minimum wage to over $10 an hour in incremental steps over the next two years — a cause championed by President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address and since taken up in the Senate — would not be as damaging for businesses as some critics have argued.

As the Center for Economic and Policy Research pointed out in another piece (Minimum Wage Raise is the Least We Can Do to Civilize America”), the minimum wage is not just a kid’s wage:

Contrary to prevailing myths about who would benefit from a proposed increase in the minimum wage, 88 percent of the 28 million workers affected are not teenagers.  As the Economic Policy Institute has shown, the majority are full-time workers, and on average they earn about half of their families’ income.  And 28 percent of the nation’s 76 million children would have a parent who would benefit from the raise.

Another minimum wage myth that needs a dose of reality is this one:

And raising the minimum wage doesn’t only cut into profits, it also increases demand in the economy by moving income to workers who spend more than those who receive profit.  The Economic Policy Institute estimated that the proposed increase in the minimum wage would actually increase employment.

And dispelling the largest myth of all:

Although it is theoretically possible to raise minimum wages enough to cause employers to hire fewer workers, there is hardly any indication from economic research that the proposed increase in the minimum wage would have this effect. 

So, under the Warren proposal, almost 25 million folks, many of them with kids, would get a raise which would in turn benefit the entire economy and would not increase unemployment in the slightest.

Who could be against that?

Oh, I forgot.

The mainstream press is too busy worrying about reforming the Republican Party and the Republican Party is too busy worrying about keeping tax rates low on rich people.

Only liberal Democrats have time to celebrate and promote the interests of the American worker.

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