Barney Frank was elected to the U.S House of Representatives in 1980 after seving in the Massachusetts state legislature for eight years. He is a member of the Judiciary Committee and the Banking and Financial Services Committee.
The most important lesson to be learned by Democrats from recent events in both the real and political worlds is that economic growth alone is not enough. Expansion of gross domestic product is a good thing, but 4 percent annual growth does not guarantee
that Americans will see significant improvement in their own economic positions; and eroding real wages in the midst of a growing economy translates into an important political fact as well. Economically, politically, and most importantly morally, Democrats should insist on public policies that not only promote economic growth but also work against the current trends in which nearly all of that increase is concentrated in the hands of a few.
In the September issue of the Prospect, Robert Reich offers several Democrats, myself specifically included, some entirely gratuitous advice. Not having spoken with me – nor, I think, with my colleagues -- Mr. Reich lectures me that I must “resist (the) temptation” to spend most of my time in a series of shrill, wholly negative attacks on the Bush administration. Among the temptations I am urged to resist is to do a “job…on the Administrations nefarious links to Wall Street.” And he follows the sentence regarding me with the sarcastic question, “Hell, why not try to impeach Bush?”
One problem the Republican leadership faces in boasting about the
accomplishments of the 1999 congressional session is that one of them was the repudiation of the primary "success" they were trumpeting proudly in 1997. That was the year the Republican Congress passedand lamentably got Bill Clinton to signthe wildly misnamed Balanced Budget Act. It was wildly misnamed on two counts.
The Communist Manifesto exults over the "specter haunting Europe"--the growth of communism. Today, America's ability to grow in a socially equitable manner confronts a serious threat from another economic theory, one that shares with Marx's construct its devotees' loyalty in the face of strong contradictory evidence. This danger can be even more appropriately labeled a specter because, unlike Marx's hope that his newborn would grow rapidly, we are menaced by the revivification of a theory from a recent inglorious demise.