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

No Grasp

As they emerge from the wrecked political shelter of their "yes, but" support for the war in Iraq, Democrats are consoling themselves with the prospect of a post-Saddam Hussein return to normalcy -- in America. "Remember 1992," they whisper. "After we get this war behind us, the next election will be about the economy again, stupid." But the "war" will not be over by November 2004. Having successfully morphed the threat posed by al-Qaeda into the threat posed by rogue leaders -- and having morphed both into an open-ended commitment to global American empire -- George W. Bush has created a permanent wartime presidency. As he demonstrated in last year's election, fear of another terrorist attack now trumps domestic pain. In the first two years of this administration's watch, unemployment rose by 2 million, investors lost trillions in a scandal-ridden stock market and the health-care system in many parts of the country was in free fall. Yet Democrats lost both the House and the Senate...

A Tale of Two Cities

T wo political movements representing distinct visions of the global economy will hold their annual conventions the last week of January. The World Economic Forum -- an organization of some 1,000 multinational corporations -- will meet in Davos, a picture book ski resort in the Swiss Alps. The forum was organized 30 years ago to provide a discreet hideaway where businessmen-without-borders could socialize and strategize with one another and selected heads of state. Over the years, Davos has become less an exclusive retreat to do business and more a quasi-public conference on how to make the world safe for multinational capital. This year, more than 500 government officials, media pundits, leaders of churches and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as the Red Cross, and "leading thinkers" will share cocktails and ideas with the captains of global capitalism. Meanwhile, some 7,000 miles away, a much larger group of environmental, labor and other social activists will gather in...

Corporate Control of North America

T he business interests that promoted the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have gotten their money's worth. Since the agreement went into effect in January 1994, American and Canadian corporations have moved production and jobs south to take advantage of cheap Mexican labor. Subsidized agribusinesses in both northern countries have blown small-scale Mexican farmers out of their local markets for corn, wheat and other commodities. Eighty-five percent of the Mexican banking system is now foreign-owned. Mexican production, meanwhile, is moving to even lower-wage countries. And the Mexican business partners who brokered these deals got rich. But business in all three nations has gotten a good deal more. NAFTA is a potential battering ram aimed at destroying domestic protections that temper modern capitalism. These social, labor, environmental and regulatory constraints, the fruits of more than a century of domestic political struggle in each of the three countries, are in...

Reclaiming the Party

T he Democratic party -- like Enron, the FBI and the Catholic Church -- is a dysfunctional institution that cannot reform itself from the inside. If the party were a well-run corporation whose products weren't selling, its board of directors or its CEO would bring in outsiders to give an honest assessment of what was going wrong and engage stakeholders -- workers, customers, suppliers -- in planning a new strategy. But the Democrats have neither a competent board of directors nor a responsible CEO. The Democratic National Committee is a worn-down fundraising machine with a chairman, Terry McAuliffe, tainted by the huge windfall he made on an investment in Global Crossing. U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the new minority leader in the House, will bring some much-needed energy and media excitement, but she will have a difficult time rising above lowest-common-denominator politics in order to keep unity among her troops. Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) will have an even harder time taming...

Falling Dollar, Rising Debt

T he value of the U.S. dollar has dropped more than 15 percent against the euro since February. That may not sound like a big deal -- a bit of bad news for American tourists this summer, a bit of good news for American manufacturers selling things abroad. But, in fact, it could be a sign that America's mounting foreign debt is about to deal a major blow to an economy already reeling from the shock of the dot-com meltdown and the crisis of U.S. corporate credibility. In the last two months, warnings have come from Alan Greenspan, the world business press and the International Monetary Fund. Two Nobel Prize–winning economists have called America's growing foreign debt "the greatest potential danger facing the economy in the years to come." Neither the administration nor the Congress, however, has heard a thing. The fundamental problem is that for the past quarter-century, we Americans have been spending more on imports than we have been earning from exports. And given our shop-till-we-...

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