Daily Digest - June 13: First, Principles
What you need to know to navigate today's most critical debates.
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The Importance of Philosophy (Democracy)
Roosevelt Institute President and CEO Felicia Wong argues that America's politics are a mess because its parties' philosophies are, too. If we want more people to buy into progressivism, it would help if we and they knew what progressivism is.
The vicious cycle of economic inequality (Politico)
Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Joseph Stiglitz writes that policymakers have the tools to deal with America's soaring inequality. The question is whether they'll start repairs while they still can or wait until the whole system sputters and breaks down.
Why the Economy Can't Get Out of First Gear (Robert Reich)
Reich argues that instead of blaming the economic slump on everything from the European debt crisis to improper planetary alignments, we should recognize that our economy can't work when the middle class has no money and no leverage to get more.
How Wall Street Hustles America's Cities and States Out of Billions (AlterNet)
Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Tom Ferguson notes that while greedy workers are being blamed for the budget crunch at the local level, bad muni bond deals have handed banks the keys to the vault and paid for the getaway cars waiting out back.
What happens if America loses its unions (WaPo)
Harold Meyerson argues that as we contemplate the effects of organized labor's potential demise, it's not hard to extrapolate from the current status quo of falling wages and a shrinking middle class. Maybe we should send ourselves sympathy cards.
The 20 Million (NYT)
Mark Bittman writes that foodies concerned that their organic free-range chickens lead happy, healthy lives before they're devoured should also spare a thought for the millions of miserable workers in the food chain who are bringing home chicken feed.
A Secret the Republicans Know But Will Never Admit (Daily Beast)
Michael Tomasky points out that in the three most recent recessions preceding 2008, the public sector grew to offset private-sector losses. But not this time, since the GOP has decided people would be better off doing nothing than (shudder) teaching.
How Obama's 'Doing Fine' Gaffe May Help Him (NYMag)
Jonathan Chait notes that while the Romney campaign leaped on Obama's verbal blunder like a dog with a bone, reminding voters that the public sector has shrunk on his watch conflicts with their desire to portray him as Karl Marx without the beard.
Motherhood Still a Cause of Pay Inequality (NYT)
Eduardo Porter writes that if the persistent gender pay gap is due to more to career choices than outright discrimination, closing it may require us to adjust the workforce to avoid punishing women who selfishly drop out to propagate the human race.
The Fiscal Legacy of George W. Bush (NYT)
Bruce Bartlett points out that although Republicans have tried to declare Obama the President of Everything Bad and erase all memory of his predecessor, it's harder to buy their claims that they'll fix the deficit when you remember that they created it.
With additional research by Danielle Bella Ellison.