What Did the Government Shutdown Battle Really Accomplish?

Oct 21, 2013Bo Cutter

Republicans have thoroughly discredited themselves and cleared the way for President Obama to put forward a new agenda.

Well, that was fun. We just escaped another Perils of Pauline moment by deciding not to test the proposition that default doesn't matter, and the Republican Party's (apparently diminishing) instincts for self-preservation finally overcame its fear of its far-right base. So where are we?

Republicans have thoroughly discredited themselves and cleared the way for President Obama to put forward a new agenda.

Well, that was fun. We just escaped another Perils of Pauline moment by deciding not to test the proposition that default doesn't matter, and the Republican Party's (apparently diminishing) instincts for self-preservation finally overcame its fear of its far-right base. So where are we?

First, a brief victory lap. As I predicted a week ago, this debacle was devastating politically for the Republican Party. Reflect on this quote from the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, taken after about 12 days of the shutdown: "the poll gave the Republican Party its lowest marks in the history of Journal polling. More than twice as many (participants) hold a negative view of the GOP as a positive one. By contrast the number of Americans viewing the Democratic Party positively or negatively was nearly equal at 40%." I won't bore you with more numbers; they all tell the same story.

This result was inevitable. The Republican House members (1) chose a goal they could never accomplish; (2) chose means (shutting down the government and threatening default to defund ObamaCare) that never had a whiff of political legitimacy; (3) never had a strategy; (4) never communicated a comprehensible story; (5) spent every waking hour making themselves look like mean, inept aliens; and (6) voluntarily selected a negotiating tactic that was beyond stupid. You never, never, never enter into a negotiation with both a goal that is really hard to achieve and a self-defined binary outcome, with no middle ground. All of this against a president who was and is a lot more popular than they are. (Maybe none of them had ever heard the story of the bear and the hikers.)

As I said before, in the history of the world, no one has ever been luckier than President Obama in terms of who his opposition is. All he had to do was wait for the game to come to him. As Napoleon said, never interfere when the enemy is in the midst of destroying itself.

And what did all of this accomplish, except a vast waste of time and money, further erosion of trust in politics and democracy, and a substantial hit to America's international reputation? I'm tempted to answer "nothing," but that's not true.

First, it was diverting and fun, in a way. I particularly liked the repeated instances when people who loudly shut down the government discovered that they didn't like shutting down the government. But you can only stand so much of that fun.

Second, it pretty much guaranteed we wouldn't be put through this by the Republican House again for a while. Of course, some of them continue threatening, and there will continue to be budget and tax battles, but I cannot imagine anyone actually daring to try for shutdown and default again during President Obama's term. He should have fought this fight two years ago in March 2011, as I wrote then, but learning lessons late is the human condition.

Third, it accomplished the impossible by switching attention away from the enormous and predictable startup problems of ObamaCare and toward the inanities of the people who foisted this debacle on us. Who knew there were so many Republican politicians more eager to explain at length why default was a destiny to be embraced than to ask why the new heath care exchanges weren't working?

Fourth, it probably ended any chance Republicans had of winning the Senate, maybe put the House in play (I see 435 campaigns on the general theme of "he (or she) shut the government down; let's shut him (or her) down"), and gave the Democrats a huge boost for 2016. Did Senator Cruz just simultaneously win the Republican 2016 presidential nomination and elect Hillary Clinton?

Fifth, it made inevitable a necessary civil war within the Republican Party. A party cannot go through a debacle like this without hard questioning about how it reached this point and what it is trying to accomplish. The country actually needs the Republicans to go through this fight.

And sixth, it provided President Obama with a totally unexpected opportunity to reinvigorate his second term. He's the only political player in Washingyon left standing with any credibility or gravity, and if he now defined a sensible, pragmatic, doable agenda, he could get it done.

I'll conclude on the agenda. The Republican Party doesn't have one, and I see little evidence that the Democratic Party is capable of or willing to rethink one. But there is a new agenda out there that all polling evidence suggests the vast middle of the American electorate (across party lines) is hungry for. All the political experts say there is no chance for a third party, a third agenda, or a temporary alliance of independents. But the world keeps changing, the next American economy poses huge challenges, and we've all just had another extended lesson in the dysfunctional nature of our current politics. Why can't this debacle we just survived be the moment that catalyzes the widespread sense there has to be a better way?

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Bo Cutter is formerly a managing partner of Warburg Pincus, a major global private equity firm. Recently, he served as the leader of President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) transition team. He has also served in senior roles in the White Houses of two Democratic Presidents.

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Daily Digest - October 17: Welcome Back, Government

Oct 17, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Debt Ceiling Crisis Averted, House Tea Partiers Express No Regrets (MoJo)

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Debt Ceiling Crisis Averted, House Tea Partiers Express No Regrets (MoJo)

Tim Murphy reports on Tea Party reactions to the deal that reopened the government. They don't care that they gained nothing and damaged the economy, because apparently it was more important to continue their crusade against Obamacare.

Gridlock Has Cost U.S. Billions, and the Meter Is Still Running (NYT)

Annie Lowrey, Nathaniel Popper, and Nelson D. Schwartz look at estimates of how much the shutdown cost. The ripple effects aren't over yet, since the housing market slowed, short term interest rates rose, and there's another fight ahead in January.

Study: Congress’s Budget Battles Have Cost the Economy $700 billion So Far (WaPo)

Brad Plumer examines a study from Macroeconomic Advisors that claims that since 2010, all the fiscal fights have cost nearly three percent of GDP. He questions these estimates, because they rely on "policy uncertainty," a concept of questionable usefulness.

  • Roosevelt Take: Plumer pulls from Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal's work to explain why the Economic Policy Uncertainty Index might not be a useful measure.

Male Senators Begrudgingly Admit Women Are Important (National Journal)

Marina Koren points out that the Senate deal was authored mostly by women. A few male Senators have talked about the importance of the female Senators in leading the charge to reopen government, but they all do so in very awkward ways.

Why the House Should Dump Boehner (MSNBC)

Timothy Noah argues that the Speaker's continued eagerness to accommodate the far right side of his party has marked him as incompetent. By voting with the far right, the Democrats could push Boehner out after the 2014 midterms.

What to Expect During the Cease-Fire (Robert Reich)

Robert Reich considers what's to come, since last night's agreement only funds the government through January. He hopes the President and Democrats in Congress will focus on the needs of the people in budget negotiations, instead of deficit reduction.

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Daily Digest - October 16: The Debt Ceiling Fight Over Birth Control

Oct 16, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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House GOPers Pushing for Anti-Birth-Control Measure in Debt Ceiling Deal (MoJo)

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House GOPers Pushing for Anti-Birth-Control Measure in Debt Ceiling Deal (MoJo)

Tim Murphy reports that while the House proposal to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling already contains provisions that would never pass the Senate, that isn't enough for some Republicans. They want to see a conscience clause included in this deal.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Fellow Andrea Flynn writes about the GOP's last attempt to push anti-birth control measures in economic policy, during the lead up to the shutdown.

We're Approaching the Worst-Case Scenario for House GOP Hostage-Taking (The Atlantic Wire)

Philip Bump considers just how bad the Republicans' attempts to cast the shutdown as a kidnapping situation is getting. House Republicans are back to proposing the same ideas that were turned down before the shutdown, which even the Senate Republicans oppose.

Debt Talks in Disarray as House Balks (NYT)

Jonathan Weisman reports that House negotiations on the shutdown and debt ceiling fell apart on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, credit rating agencies are already concerned by Congress bringing the country to the brink again.

Wall Street Doubts Debt Deadline and Puts its Money on 1 November (The Guardian)

Based on Wall Street announcements on their Treasury bond holdings, Heidi Moore suggests that big business thinks the U.S. won't actually default on October 17. Whenever default day falls, it could cause huge damages to the social safety net.

Nightmare Scenario: What Happens If We Actually, Truly Default? (NY Mag)

Kevin Roose lays out an hour-by-hour schedule of how default day would work out, based on discussions with financiers and policy experts. They suggest that a debt ceiling increase would happen within the day - but the damage would last much longer.

North Carolina Suspends Welfare Program Thanks To The Shutdown (ThinkProgress)

Bryce Covert says that until today, all the states were covering federal funding for their Temporary Aid for Needy Families programs. North Carolina's announcement won't be the last if the shutdown continues, so families and children who rely on that program will be in trouble.

Fast-Food Wages Come With a $7 Billion Side of Public Assistance (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Susan Berfield looks at two studies on the amount of public assistance that fast food workers receive in order to make ends meet. McDonald's says it pays competitive wages, but more then half of fast food workers are enrolled in least one public assistance program.

New on Next New Deal

The Truth About the GOP's Phony Shutdown Offer

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative Jeff Madrick writes that until Republicans pull their threat of default, Democrats and the President can't take their offers seriously.

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Daily Digest - October 15: Fighting Global Inequality at Home

Oct 15, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Inequality Is a Choice (NYT)

Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz discusses a new divide between countries who attempt to do something about income inequality and countries that don't. If the U.S. and its peers aren't trying to make change, why should anyone else?

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Inequality Is a Choice (NYT)

Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz discusses a new divide between countries who attempt to do something about income inequality and countries that don't. If the U.S. and its peers aren't trying to make change, why should anyone else?

Living on $5,000 a Year, on Purpose: Meet America's 'intentional poor' (NBC News)

Roosevelt Institute | Pipeline Fellow Nona Willis Aronowitz looks at the lives of those who choose poverty as a lifestyle. She points out that choosing poverty is different from being poor: many who choose this lifestyle have a family safety net.

Nancy Pelosi on Sister Simone (Politico)

Rep. Nancy Pelosi writes about her admiration of Sister Simone Campbell, who will be awarded the Freedom of Worship medal at Wednesday's Four Freedoms Awards. Pelosi admires how Sister Simone's faith leads her to take action on behalf of the needy.

The Default has Already Begun (Reuters)

Felix Salmon argues that because global faith in U.S. financial institutions has already been shaken, for most purposes default has already started. The effects can't be stopped at this point, even though we haven't yet breached the debt ceiling.

A Government Above the People (Al Jazeera)

Sarah Kendzior says that when Republican congressmen suggest that furloughed federal workers take out expensive short-term loans during the shutdown, it's further proof of how disconnected government is from the people who rely on the social safety net, or even just their paychecks.

In Shutdown and Debt Ceiling Showdown, GOPers Ignore Their Party's Own Advice (MoJo)

David Corn compares the Republican's internal autopsy from March to their current behavior. The report was supposed to help the GOP make changes to appeal to a broader range of voters, but the party's actions are practically the opposite of the recommendations.

A Win For McJobs: Seattle's Mayoral Candidates Both Support a $15 Minimum Wage (The Atlantic)

Jordan Weissmann questions whether the support for fast food protesters' wage demands is just posturing. But even if it is, for any politician to start supporting a $15 per hour minimum wage should be seen as a great success in changing the narrative.


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The Truth About the GOP's Phony Shutdown Offer

Oct 14, 2013Jeff Madrick

President Obama can't negotiate with Republicans if they won't drop their threats against the government and the economy.

President Obama can't negotiate with Republicans if they won't drop their threats against the government and the economy.

It’s very important that President Obama and his aides make clear to the American public that the Republican Party’s right wing, supported by moderates, offered no serious deal to him by proposing a postponement of their threat to let the U.S. default. They pointed a gun at his head and then said they may not pull the trigger for another six weeks. That is still extortion of the worst kind. Obama is simply saying, “Put the gun down and I will negotiate.”   

I notice a bias in the media. For example, The Wall Street Journal’s front page today said point blank that Obama turned down the Republicans’ offer to negotiate without mentioning that they did not withdraw their threat to do this all over again, which is the obstacle in the first place.

Meanwhile, I was asked by Sky News yesterday why I am only picking on Republicans. I answered that any make-believe that there is even partial blame to go around is nonsense. Sky wasn’t taking sides so much as doing that “even-handed’ thing that mainstream media thinks passes for objectivity.    

The public can be easily seduced by the Republicans’ non-offer, so Obama constantly has to make clear they made no real offer.

The substance of all this is often lost, too. First of all, why is this small group of Republicans so profoundly disturbed by Obamacare? Here’s where a bit of history hurts. We remember that universal health care failed to get passed under FDR, who wanted such a system. It made perfectly good sense to him. The American Medical Association, the doctors’ organization, pushed hard against it, and the phrase “socialized medicine” in a time of rising anti-communism struck a chord among the people. FDR lost the battle.

We assume those same sentiments are still at work. Now, of course, big pharma and insurance companies are often the opposition to single-payer. And no doubt there is still a lot of nonsense about not letting Uncle Sam into our medical offices or creating requirements to buy insurance.

But in the case of Obamacare, we may be fooling ourselves. The source of opposition to it could be as simple as intense racial prejudice and anti-abortion attitudes. Obamacare would radically expand Medicaid, a service for the poor. In the South, that mostly means black people. And many southern governors, even though it would cost them almost nothing because the federal government would pick up 90 percent of the cost, are not implementing the plan.   

The Republicans also want a “conscience” clause to allow individual corporations to refuse abortion financing. The Washington Post reported that in a closed-door session, Paul Ryan said Republicans can’t accept an extension of the deadline because they need it as “leverage” for demanding the conscience clause. Undermining Obamacare is still high on the agenda.   

The Republican counter, of course, made it seem that Obamacare wasn’t their current concern anymore, and that a broad negotiation to reduce the deficit was now the issue. On this, Larry Summers has an important piece in the Financial Times today showing that the 10-year deficit is now a non-issue. More important, he is claiming the long-term deficit is also a non-issue. By his calculation, we only have to grow by 0.2 percent more a year to keep it manageable, even as Medicare and Medicaid costs rise rapidly.  

Coming from the man who seemed to support a budget deficit-cutting commission early in Obama’s term, when he should have known better, this seems to be a helpful shift back to reality.

Growth is what matters, to which the Republican respond that they want more government cuts. The Senate Democrats won’t agree to retain the sequester and thereby do a deal with the Senate Republicans, but Mitch McConnell boasts how much it has cut government spending. He left out the part about how it is seriously impeding America’s economic growth at the same time. 

Without the sequester, the U.S. would very likely be growing at a healthy pace now, reducing unemployment and probably the deficit compared to GDP as well.

It would be nice to get serious talk about the economy back on track. The media could help. Wishful thinking.

Jeff Madrick is a Senior Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative.

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The Larger Issue at Stake in the Shutdown: The Role of Government

Oct 14, 2013David B. Woolner

By choosing not to position himself as a defender of government, President Obama may have made his opposition stronger.

By choosing not to position himself as a defender of government, President Obama may have made his opposition stronger.

The recent news that there has been a shift in tone in the debate between congressional Republicans and the White House over the government shutdown has been greeted as a welcome development in much of the press and on Wall Street, where, in response to rumors of an impending deal, the DOW Jones Industrial Average shot up more than 300 points.

But there is a larger issue at stake in this debacle that President Obama has to a large extent ignored: the role of government in shaping a just and economically sustainable liberal capitalist democracy.

Today’s free-market fundamentalists continue to denounce any attempt by the federal government to regulate capitalism. They insist that the forces of the market could easily solve all of our nation’s woes if only government would get out of the way. Their faith stems from their unshakable belief that the free market system cannot fail, and the apostate in their vision is government.

The history of the free market system in the years between the October 1929 crash of the stock market and the steady deflationary slide into the Great Depression three years later teaches us something quite different. Capitalist economies can collapse; the free market system can fail; millions of people can be thrown out into the street, wondering not just where they might find work, but where they might get their next meal.

It was at the height of this crisis of capitalism that the American people elected Franklin D. Roosevelt as the 32nd President of the United States. FDR was no ideologue, he harbored no extreme views on the right or on the left, but he understood that capitalism was in deep trouble, that the transition of the United States from a largely agrarian state to a modern industrial society had left millions of Americans vulnerable to the fickle twists of the unregulated marketplace, and that the only institution strong enough to take on the forces of wealth and privilege that largely controlled the marketplace—those whose unbridled greed was chiefly responsible for its collapse—was government.

It was this message and this philosophy that led the American people to support the many measures FDR put in place under the banner of the New Deal. Measures like the separation of commercial and investment banking, the establishment of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the passage of the all-important Social Security Act, which gave us old-age pensions and unemployment insurance. At the time, critics of the New Deal charged that FDR was leading the country down the path to a dictatorship; that he was subverting the Constitution. The American Liberty League even went so far as to claim that the passage of the Social Security Act meant “the end of democracy.”

But Roosevelt scoffed at these “prophets of calamity,” and unlike President Obama, was willing on behalf of the American people both to acknowledge and attack the forces arrayed against them. Consider, for example, FDR’s repeated assaults on the “economic royalists” whose vast concentrations of wealth distorted the free-market system to such an extent that they made it virtually impossible for “small businessmen and merchants to make worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit.” In the face of such vast inequality, “the hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor… had all passed beyond the control of the people,” he warned. “Private enterprise,” he said, “became too private. It became privileged enterprise, not free enterprise.” 

As a result, “the political equality we once had won” had become “meaningless in the face of economic inequality,” leading to the inescapable conclusion that “against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could only appeal to the organized power of government.”

Throughout his tenure as president, Barack Obama has been reluctant to present himself as the voice of the average working American, to position himself and his administration as leading a government effort to attack the immense inequality that has re-emerged in our society over the past 30 years, and to seek the people’s support for this effort. Instead, he has engaged in a somewhat admirable attempt to find solutions to such problems as health care reform through compromise with his conservative opposition, often by the establishment of programs—such as the Affordable Care Act—designed to appeal more to those who harbor a greater faith in the free market than they do in government.

But as recent events make clear, the president’s decision to seek market-friendly solutions to our most pressing problems has not won him any credit among the archconservatives who have hijacked the Republican Party. Their overriding focus is to discredit government, not work with it; to destroy the social safety net, not save it; and it would appear that they are quite willing to go to extreme lengths to achieve their ideological goals, including the possibility of driving the U.S. Government into default.

One can certainly understand the political calculations behind President Obama’s oft-repeated willingness to meet his opposition halfway, but it now appears that his past readiness to compromise and acknowledge his other points of view has won him few converts and may have only strengthened the hand of those who seek to destroy his agenda.

A far better tack may be to steal a page or two from FDR, who called upon the American people to recognize “the need to find through government the instrument of our united purpose to solve for the individual the ever-rising problems of a complex civilization,” and above all else, to never forget that “government is ourselves and not an alien power over us.”

David Woolner is a Senior Fellow and Hyde Park Resident Historian for the Roosevelt Institute. 

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Women Are Bearing the Brunt of Shutdown Fallout

Oct 11, 2013Andrea FlynnNataya Friedan

The "non-essential" programs that are currently unfunded due to the shutdown are in fact essential for many women and children.

The "non-essential" programs that are currently unfunded due to the shutdown are in fact essential for many women and children.

The GOP likes to say the war on women is a myth. But the government shutdown, now in its eleventh day, is just the latest evidence that it is indeed alive and well. It should be no surprise that women are among those hurt most by the closure, which, predictably, is in part a reaction to the benefits that the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature achievement, guarantees women, as we wrote last week.

From the nation’s elite institutions to the oft-neglected rural areas of this country, women and their families are caught in the middle of a political impasse that has furloughed an estimated 800,000 government workers, threatens to upend the global economy, and has left critical government programs and services scrambling to secure emergency funds in order to serve America’s most vulnerable populations.

The shutdown threatens a number of programs and funding streams, including domestic violence shelters and service centers; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); the Woman, Infants, and Children Program (WIC); School Lunch; Head Start; and Title IX investigations of sexual assault on college campuses. This will have a serious impact on the health, physical safety, food security, and economic stability of women and their families.

Physical Safety

As Bryce Covert wrote last week, funds for domestic violence programs designated under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) have been suspended since October 4. (It should be no surprise that many of the House members leading the shutdown also voted against VAWA itself earlier this year.)

Small centers without access to independent funding – those that serve women with the fewest options – will only be able to weather the storm for so long. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the ensuing economic downturn, violence against women has been on the rise, with eight out of 10 shelters reporting increases in the number of women seeking help, and 74 percent of domestic violence victims staying in unsafe situations because of economic insecurity.  Demand for these services is increasing, while funding is being cut from every source. Nearly four out of five of domestic violence service providers have reported decreases in government funding over the past five years, and since October 1, many have closed their doors completely or limited their services.

The shutdown is also affecting the safety of women on college and university campuses across the country. An increasing number of institutions are under investigation for ineffective handling of sexual assault cases adjudicated under Title IX.

And with the shutdown, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has suspended investigations into alleged violations and has halted campus visits necessary for holding institutions accountable.  

Food Security

The shutdown threatens the food assistance on which millions of America’s most vulnerable women and children rely. At this point, federal funding for TANF, WIC, and school lunches has been suspended. State and USDA reserve funds are being reallocated so that states can continue to provide these essential services, but they will only be able to function with these limited resources for a short time.

States are shouldering the burden to keep TANF running while the government is shuttered, but last week, 5,200 eligible families in Arizona did not receive their monthly check. Thus far Arizona has been the only state to deny this important benefit for families in need, but every day the program is more strained.

WIC, the federal program that most crucially provides formula and breastfeeding assistance for mothers in need, has also been left in the lurch. On Tuesday, officials announced that no additional WIC vouchers would be issued in the state of North Carolina, where approximately 264,000 women rely on the program. In Utah, the WIC program shut its doors and only reopened four days later because the USDA provided a $2.5 million emergency grant. Other centers are sure to face the same challenges so long as workers are furloughed and grants are on hold.

Economic Security

Head Start programs that provide childcare and education for 7,200 low-income children ages 0-5 did not receive grants due on October 1. Thousands of low-income women are able to go to work every day because their children participate in Head Start programs. Without them, women already struggling in low-wage jobs and lacking benefits are forced to miss work, because no one else is able to care for their children. For women, secure employment is contingent on secure childcare and education for their families. The New York Times reported that programs in six states had closed due to the shutdown and then reopened temporarily thanks to a $10 million gift from a couple in Texas. Head Start will continue as a result of this short-term rescue, but private philanthropy will not be able to do the job of the government over the long term.

In sum, what some define as non-essential government services are, in fact, essential to the economic and physical well-being of America's most vulnerable women and their families. It’s just another variation on the old adage that one man’s public interest may be another’s tyranny – in this instance, largely tyranny over women and children.

Andrea Flynn is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. She researches and writes about access to reproductive health care in the United States. You can follow her on Twitter @dreaflynn.

Nataya Friedan is a recent graduate of Columbia University working for the Roosevelt Institute’s Women Rising program.

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Daily Digest - October 11: Non-Catastrophes Can Still Be Bad Policy

Oct 11, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Why “The Sky Hasn’t Fallen Yet” is a Bad Standard for Judging Policy Choices (The Fine Print)

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Why “The Sky Hasn’t Fallen Yet” is a Bad Standard for Judging Policy Choices (The Fine Print)

Nick Schwellenbach uses Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal's piece on right-wing think tanks and the debt ceiling to explain why even if a default wasn't catastrophic, it would still be a terrible policy decision.

U.S. Treasury, Fed Planning for Possible Default (Reuters)

Tim Reid and Jonathan Spicer report that the Treasury and the Fed have started preparing contingency plans for a default. The plans remain secret because officials worry about encouraging Republican Congress members who think breaching the debt ceiling is no big deal.

Obama to Boehner: No? (WaPo)

Ezra Klein reports on yesterday's White House meeting with a Republican House delegation, which offered a six week debt ceiling increase. The President appears to be sticking to his statements that the government must be reopened before anything else can happen.

Postcards from the Shutdown Edge (TAP)

According to Abby Rapoport, the shutdown hasn't seemed so bad so far because the states have covered for missing federal funds for the past ten days. That can't go on forever, and when it stops, the social safety net will be in trouble.

A Border Patrol Agent Who Has To Work Without Pay Wants You To Stop Saying The Shutdown Is No Big Deal (Business Insider)

Josh Barro looks at what's coming for the many federal employees who have been working without pay for nearly two weeks. A short paycheck is approaching, and then no more until government reopens, and bills can't be paid in IOUs dated "whenever the shutdown ends."

Bank Examiner Was Told to Back Off Goldman, Suit Says (NYT)

Susanne Craig and Jessica Silver-Greenberg report on a lawsuit filed by a former New York Fed employee, which contends that she was asked to change her negative findings about the conflict of interest policies at Goldman-Sachs and fired when she refused.

New on Next New Deal

How to Fight for "Freedom from Want" and Win: A Q&A with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch interviews representatives of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, who will receive the Freedom from Want medal at the 2013 Four Freedoms Awards, on their unique organizing model in the fight for fair wages and working conditions.

Sister Simone Campbell Shows Us Freedom of Worship is a Bipartisan Value

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Senior Fellow for Defense and Diplomacy Jacqueline Van de Velde considers the work of Sister Simone Campbell, who will receive the Freedom of Worship medal at the Four Freedoms Awards, in the context of progressive policy.

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Daily Digest - October 10: Finally, a Fed Chair Nominee

Oct 10, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Yellen, if Confirmed, Faces Daunting Task (AJAM)

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Yellen, if Confirmed, Faces Daunting Task (AJAM)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal considers the challenges facing Janet Yellen. We'll know that she's a success if she can balance the duel mandate of employment and inflation and work towards a better economy for Americans who haven't seen much recovery yet.

Janet Yellen: who is the woman set to lead Federal Reserve? (The Week)

In its profile of Janet Yellen, The Week quotes Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative Jeff Madrick, who points out the value of Yellen's focus on employment.

Twilight of the Economics Elites (Foreign Policy)

Daniel W. Drezner questions why Republicans are so insistent on ignoring the advice of economists. One reason, that the right has their own experts, pulls from Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal's piece on right-wing economists' opinions on the debt ceiling.

If Congress Only Reopens the Government Piece by Piece, it Could Take Until Next Spring (WaPo)

Brad Plumer points out another reason to avoid piecemeal funding bills: if the government is funded on a service-by-service basis, it will take more than 100 working days to finish. Whoever relies on that last service would have a long wait.

The 8 Most Plausible Ways a Debt-Ceiling Catastrophe Could Be Averted (NY Mag)

Dan Amira and Jonathan Chait rank the possible solutions to avoiding a default on October 17. They also include a prediction of the Senator Ted Cruz reaction to any given solution, ranging from "anger" to "epic, 47-hour speech on Senate floor."

Janet Yellen: The Most Powerful Woman in US History (Quartz)

Matt Phillips argues that the Federal Reserve Chair has more power then the Secretary of State, or the Speaker of the House. No one approves the Fed Chair's decisions, and major coalition building would be required to curtail the Fed's powers.

McCutcheon, the Next Victory for the 1 Percent (TAP)

Scott Lemieux is concerned after oral arguments for McCutcheon vs. FEC. He thinks that it's likely that the Supreme Court will strike down aggregate campaign contribution limits, and that doesn't seem good for American democracy.

Unpaid Intern Is Ruled Not an ‘Employee,’ Not Protected From Sexual Harassment (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Venessa Wong reports on a U.S. District Court decision that determined that unpaid interns are not protected by the New York City Human Rights Law. Sexual harassment charges require being an employee, and being paid in "experience" isn't enough.


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Daily Digest - October 9: Economy Doing the Limbo, Going Nowhere

Oct 9, 2013Rachel Goldfarb

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Five Years in Limbo (Project Syndicate)

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Five Years in Limbo (Project Syndicate)

Roosevelt Institute Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz writes that five years after the financial crises that set off the recession, the economy is still in limbo. It's true that some problems have been addressed, but no one can call our current economy a success.

What Should Democrats Demand in the Budget Showdown? (The Nation)

Bryce Covert thinks it's time for Democrats to go on the offensive and put in some budget demands of their own. She draws on Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal's work for one of her suggestions: free public colleges and universities.

This Graph Explains Why Obama Rejected the Piecemeal Approach to Funding Government (The Atlantic)

Derek Thompson agrees with the president's decision to veto any piecemeal funding bills, because that will only drag out the crisis. If the most visible effects of the shutdown disappear, then the Republicans risk less in the public eye.

Amid Big Salmonella Outbreak, USDA Says It's On The Job (NPR)

Allison Aubrey reports that the USDA inspectors and investigators were working through the shutdown, and the current salmonella outbreak back in July. The CDC unit that tracks these outbreaks has called in some furloughed workers, who are suddenly essential too.

Obama to Pick Yellen as Leader of Fed, Officials Say (NYT

Jackie Calmes reports that the President has chosen the next chair of the Federal Reserve. His choice of Janet Yellen is somewhat expected and welcomed by many, but we'll have to wait a while for confirmation since the Senate is a little busy with the shutdown.

  • Roosevelt Take: Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative Jeff Madrick and Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal wrote about their reasons for supporting Yellen for this position.

Strong Enough for a Man, Effective Enough For A Woman (In These Times)

Sarah Jaffe looks at Senator Gillibrand's five point plan for families and the economy, which demonstrates just how closely these two policy areas are tied. Jaffe applauds the senator for taking such an aggressive stance on labor issues, which remain distinctly unpopular in Congress.

The She-covery that Wasn't (TAP)

Bryce Stucki argues that while women are holding a number of jobs equal to or exceeding pre-recession numbers, that doesn't mean policymakers can stop worrying about women in the workforce. Too many of these jobs are low paying and low quality.

New on Next New Deal

California's Environmental Regulations Provide a Vision for the Future

Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Senior Fellow for Energy and Environment Melia Ungson sees environmental regulations as key for Millennials looking for a healthy future. That doesn't mean those regulations need to stand in opposition to economic development.

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