Jeff Faux

Jeff Faux was the founder, and is now Distinguished Fellow, of the Economic Policy Institute. His latest book is The Servant Economy.

Recent Articles

Lesson for Democrats: Back to Class

It was the party’s neoliberalism that did it in.

Lionel Hahn/ABACAPRESS.com/Sipa via AP Images
Lionel Hahn/ABACAPRESS.com/Sipa via AP Images A Donald Trump supporter on election night in New York City. A ccording to President Obama, the election that gave Donald Trump and the Republicans full control of the federal government and their greatest dominance at the state level since the Civil War had nothing to do with his policies. We Democrats have “better ideas,” he insisted to the press. “But I also believe that good ideas don’t matter if people don’t hear them.” Hillary, one might conclude from Obama’s remarks, just didn’t work hard enough. The president’s argument echoes through much of the Democrats’ gloomy post-mortem. The problem was Hillary’s schedule, or not enough “get-out-the-vote organizing, or James Comey’s interventions. And, of course, the racist and sexist voters in fly-over America, who are too stupid to understand their own interest. There is some truth to all of that. But the consoling claim that it wasn’t our product that failed but merely our marketing leads...

Response to Starr: The Case for Withdrawing from the War Against ISIS

The war against the Islamic State has become a disastrous, unwinnable quagmire. 

Alessandro Rota/Sipa via AP Images
This is a contribution to " Prospect Debate: Should We Fight ISIS? " P aul Starr wants Barack Obama to accelerate the war on ISIS. Starr’s proposal would only prolong a war that we cannot win and that is unraveling the fabric of our democracy. Impatient with the pace of the president’s current re-escalation in Iraq and Syria, Starr echoes Hillary Clinton’s demand for “more, faster.” He wants us to arm the Sunnis. But we have been arming the Sunnis, many of whom have channeled these weapons to ISIS and other extremists. Giving them even more arms will widen the flow. After 13 years of war we still do not seem to know which Sunnis—if any—are actually on our side. Like Clinton, Starr wants more U.S. troops on the ground. But how many? We already have 3,500, and rising. Republicans like John McCain and Jeb Bush are at least willing to specify numbers: 10,000 and 20,000 respectively. We had over 100,000 in Iraq and still couldn’t stabilize it. Starr and Clinton just want “more.” Like...

Class War: The View From the Board Room

T he Vice-President for Governmental Affairs has just finished his report to the corporate board of directors. “Thanks, Ted,” says the Chairman. “You and your Washington staff have done a great job. Getting that little amendment inserted in the budget bill will save us at least $25 million next year. …. Questions or comments? Paul?” Paul, the hedge fund CEO: “I’m worried about the big picture down there in Washington, Ted. It’s a mess. Deficit out of control. The anti-business attitude. Not to mention incompetence. Can’t even run a website for their own health care program. Pathetic.” “Amen,” says Hank, who used to run a tobacco company. “What bugs me is Obama’s complaining about inequality. Just whips people up. Saw them last night on the TV news, in front of a McDonald’s somewhere, screaming for more money. Makes you sick. Want money? Get a job!” “Actually Hank, those people already have a job,” says Cliff from Silicon Valley. “And lucky to have it. Plenty more out there ready to...

Larry Summers and the Economists’ “Greed Exception”

AP Images/J. Scott Applewhite
AP Images/J. Scott Applewhite I t is said that the late economist Milton Friedman was once asked how much money it would take for him to change his position that humans are primarily motivated by greed, which was at the core of his free-market fundamentalism. Friedman wisely dodged the question. He understood that if he said he could not be bought, it would undercut his economic theory. In order to avoid doing so, he would have had to admit that he, like everyone else, had his price. Lawrence Summers is certainly not a Milton Friedman conservative. But of the top candidates to succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve, he is the leading exponent of free-market dogma. He was an architect of financial deregulation, and champions unfettered global trade and limiting government intervention in the economy. He has also become wealthy selling his services to corporate bankers and brokers who benefit from such policies. Summers and his supporters insist that his ties to Wall...

Where's the Change?

AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke
AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File T he Democratic Party’s long-term prospects have dramatically improved since the November election. They will control the White House for another four years. The Republicans, who lost the total vote for the House of Representatives, remain captive of an unpopular reactionary right wing. The “Obama Coalition” of minorities and single women is growing faster than the GOP’s white male base. If demography is destiny, Democrats—and the progressive interests that they are supposed represent in the two-party system—are the wave of the future. But the American dream is about upward mobility. Ultimately, “The economy, Stupid” trumps identity politics. If the Democrats are not the champions of expanding jobs and incomes for the majority of voters who work for a living—whatever their gender, color, or sexual orientation—their claim to being the natural majority party will amount to little. So it made political sense that Barack Obama began his 2013 State of the Union...

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