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

Breaking the Consensus (Finally)

For the first time in a long time, it may be politically achievable to make globalization work for working Americans.

The bipartisan consensus that has integrated Americans into the global economy over the last two decades is clearly in trouble. Polls show a majority of voters skeptical of free trade, and November's election shifted at least 7 Senate and 30 House seats from supporters of current trade policies to outspoken critics. When Wall Street's Robert Rubin -- who as Bill Clinton's Treasury Secretary guided the policies that exposed U.S. workers to low-wage competition in the 1990's -- met with House Democrats in December, he was greeted with a chorus of complaints about outsourced jobs, depleted local tax bases and shrinking opportunities for young people. Rubin responded that, in the interests of party unity, they ought to drop the subject. They told him he was out of touch. For two decades, leaders of both political parties have assured members of Congress and the public that de-regulating imports and exports would make the typical American working family richer. It was said to be Economics...

Canoeing Life's River

I grew up in an urban world of concrete and asphalt. Nature was a few weeds sprouting from sidewalk cracks in August. Summer camp was for rich kids. So I spent a lot of time dreaming of living in the wilderness, fueled by images from James Fennimore Cooper -- the buckskin-clad deerslayer paddling down rivers, hunting, fishing, and fighting bad guys. Most kids saw their first car as a ticket out of the neighborhood. I dreamed of owning a canoe. It was a long time coming. I spent my first decade as an adult fighting a war on poverty and against a war in Vietnam. Then, burned out after the 1972 defeat of George McGovern, I joined other despairing lefties to find hope in rural life. I cashed in everything and moved my family to a run-down blueberry farm in Maine. One spring day, a neighbor told me he was selling his canoe. The canoes of my childhood fantasies were birch bark; this was 16 feet of banged up fiberglass. But it was $60, with three paddles and a patch kit thrown in. The day...

Viva López!

The dramatic political crisis that had menaced Mexico's nascent democracy for the past month is settled. As a result, the country's next president may well be a populist from a left-wing party -- a prospect that gives heartburn to Washington and Wall Street. For the past year, Andrés Manuel López Obrador , the mayor of Mexico City, has consistently led all other potential candidates in polling match-ups for the 2006 election. To counter this threat, the two major conservative parties in Mexico's congress -- President Vicente Fox's Partido Acción Nacional and its erstwhile rival, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), which ruled Mexico for 71 years before Fox's election in 2000 -- passed a law in early April aimed at indicting López Obrador on a trumped-up charge involving a minor land dispute. This would have prohibited him from running. The plot backfired when citizens became outraged at such a transparent attempt to undercut López Obrador's right to be on the ballot and,...

The Mess In Mexico

Mexico's fragile democracy is under attack from its own government -- and may not survive. Yet the Bush administration's neoconservatives, who almost daily proclaim their commitment to protect -- and indeed impose -- free elections in the world's every nook and cranny, are silent. Turns out that their defense of democracy extends only to candidates who meet their approval. For more than a year now, polls have shown Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the populist, left-of-center mayor of Mexico City, leading all potential candidates in next year's presidential election. In response to this populist threat, the two major parties, both heavily supported by Mexican big business, have colluded to deny López the right to run for president. On April 7, their combined majority in Mexico's Congress in effect ordered the federal government to indict López Obrador on a transparently trumped-up charge. He is accused of approving a city project to widen a road to a public hospital on a small piece of...

All Action, No Talk

A California Labor Union leader once described to me the 1966 campaign to re-elect Democrat Pat Brown as governor. “We had a massive campaign to identify our voters,” he said, “we contacted everyone at least twice, and we did a tremendous job of getting them to the polls on election day -- where they voted for Ronald Reagan.” This year, labor and its Democratic allies mobilized their voters more effectively than ever before. They began early, raised lots of money, and recruited thousands of inspired volunteers who helped raise the turnout for the Democrats in the battleground states. Moreover, the political stars seemed to be in alignment: the flat economy, sky-high gas prices and health-care costs, and corporate scandals -- and the incompetence of the administration every day on issues from Iraq to flu vaccine. “We know how to do the ground campaign,” explained a campaign official on election night, when we regrouped at a campaign headquarters in suburban Philadelphia as early...

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