IDEAS, FIRST PRINCIPLES, THE PHILOSOPHY GAP, ETC. To add to thepushback against liberal "ideas"hype, I recommend reading Greg Anrig's post as well as Alan Wolfe's essay in the latest Washington Monthly.
NDN GETS BACK TO ITS ROOTS. So the annual NDN Conference gets under way at noon today, and guess who's on the speaker line-up? New Democrats. People who have ties to the Democratic Leadership Council. People accused on blogs of centrism. The main political speakers at the conference are: Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; former Virginia Governor Mark Warner; Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, chair of the DLC; and Senator Hillary Clinton.
JUPITER RISING, WAGES STUCK. In all innocence, I went on to the Washington Post's home page on Wednesday afternoon to see who voted how in the Senate vote on raising the minimum wage. I found what I was looking for: the eight Republicans (Chafee, Coleman, Collins, DeWine, Lugar, Snowe, Specter, Warner) who voted along with the Democrats to raise the wage.
The Washington Post reported on former Treasury Secretary, and soon to be former Harvard President, Larry Summers' suggestion that the foreign central banks of developing countries begin to unload some of their huge dollar holdings. As someone who has been writing on this issue for almost five years (see here, here, and here), I am glad to see that it is now getting attention from some prominent economists.
SOMEBODY CALL A BLOGGER'S ETHICS PANEL. I have my problems with Kos, but this sort of gotcha journalism is silly. The story, as intrepid reporter Jason Zengerle has uncovered it, is this: After the news about Jerome's settled SEC case broke, Markos sent an e-mail over a closed list saying he thought the story was worthless and the best way to respond was to deny it oxygen or impact. And so he, and others, did. The e-mail could have been sent to a private CC list of the biggest bloggers, but he instead transmitted it through a semi-private message board with hundreds of members. One of the many hundreds of members forwarded the note to Zengerle, who breathlessly posted it up on the Plank. Butwaittheresmore!
MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE DEFEATED. It needed 60 votes, it got 52, so for the moment, the minimum wage increase is dead. Of the eight Republicans who voted for it, four are up for reelection this year. Congrats to The New York Times, by the way, for accurately diagnosing the state of play: "While Democrats depend on organized labor to win elections, Republicans are closely aligned with business interests that oppose any increase in the federal wage floor or would like changes in the current system." Ted Kennedy has promised that the minimum wage will be among the first bits of legislation Democrats consider if they retake Congress this fall.
You won't see this headline in the newspapers. You should ask why. Newspapers have repeatedly reported on the hundreds of billions of dollars that the rich countries give to the agricultural industry. (See the Financial Times for the latest example.) While the wording of the headlines, and often the articles themselves, would lead readers to believe that this money is being paid directly from rich country governments to farmers, the vast majority of this money takes the form of higher prices that result from trade barriers of various types.
TEENAGERS? With the minimum wage returning to the forefront of the political agenda, time's ripe to knock down the oft-deployed stereotype that it just affects a bunch of teenagers. Putting aside the general incoherence of that perspective (uh, why should teenagers be paid poorly?), it's simply untrue. The best work (PDF) on this subject comes from Heather Boushey at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. She analyzed the Survey of Income and Program Participation and found: