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Good Things Come in Threes
Not that I read the news solely to seek out examples that support other stuff NDN has lately been saying, but if its out there, why not use it? Three choice examples harvested from this weekend's news forest. First up, the Times ran a big front page on Sunday highlighting growing numbers of economically innactive American men in the labor force, and in particular the trend to support innactivity by drawing down income from rising home values. As Rob Shapiro has said in the past, this (admittedly long-term) trend of dropping out of job seeking helps explain how the economy seems to hover close to the c5% full employment rate without seeing full-employment style rises in wages.
Second, CAP's Matt Miller has an intriguing collumn about Starbuck's CEO Howard Schultz's campaign to get CEOs and politicians to admit that rising healthcare costs are damaging American competitiveness. Says Schultz: "It's the cloud Hillary created when she tried to change the system .... People burned her so badly, and everyone remembers that. It's a subject people don't want to touch." A fair point. But people used to call Welfare Reform the 3rd rail of politics, and ten years on from the 1996 Welfare Bill, that now looks silly. Surely someone can make this issue a winner in '08?
Finally, an intriguing piece of bi-partisan research on that increasingly rare species; fiscal responsibility. The Times business sections reports on an experiment in which various wonkish institutions, including Heritage on the right and Brookings on the left, ran public deliberations on what to do about the budget deficit. Without wanting to be overly trite about the report's "ordinary americans are smarter than dumb politicians" slant, the reporters take seems hopeful. Given the facts about balooning deficits and the upcoming crisis in entitlement spending, participants in the workshops could be persuaded to support tax rises, and wanted the Bush tax cuts repealed:
“I was surprised that so many people were in favor of higher taxes, but I think it’s a good thing,” said Anthony Condo, a construction contractor in his 50’s and a strong Bush supporter. “If taxes went up to lower the deficit, and I knew they were being used for that, I would be in favor of it.”
Probably not much use in partisan elections, but it goes to back up a too little remarked fact: the more people learn about progressive ideas, the more they are likely to support them. Heartening stuff. Back to work............