It’s been a busy, contentious couple of weeks on the economic front. As part of an ongoing series of conversations about the economy, politics and the future of Los Angeles, Frying Pan News asked USC Professor and economist Manuel Pastor to separate the good, the bad and the ugly.
Frying Pan News: Did President Obama’s State of the Union speech reclaim his status as a progressive populist?
Manuel Pastor: It certainly seems that he has his mojo back. This speech was one of the first times he was able to frame what he is doing in a way that makes sense. One element of the speech that was important was the concept that success come from teamwork, wrapping the idea of interdependency into the national narrative. The second thing is he was very clear that concerns about inequality do not stem from people begrudging others’ economic success;
By Mark Naison
In preparation for my course, The Worker in American Life, I am reading about the broad-based assault on industrial labor that took place during the 1980 and ’90s in a broad swath of the United States from New England through the Pacific Northwest.
Plant closings, transfer of family businesses to international conglomerates, union busting, and finally, the destruction of a wage scale and union rules that allowed factory workers to live in comfort and security and have dignity on the job hit the nation with the force of a juggernaut. In industrial cities, and in small towns which depended on industrial production, the results were devastating. These communities where then beset by a host of social ills – drug epidemics,
Having saturated the rural landscape, shuttering local stores in small town America along the way, now, in the wake of stagnant sales and increased competition, Walmart desperately needs to expand into urban markets.
And what better urban market than one full of eight million people? While the big box retailer is eager to enter the Big Apple, challenges loom large. Given the negative reputation Walmart has earned for being hostile to workers among other problems, many New Yorkers are skeptical, to put it mildly.
To counter the opposition, Walmart is positioning itself as the solution to urban food deserts – areas where finding real food is next to impossible. But as Anna Lappé has eloquently argued,
(Note: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins’ post first appeared yesterday on Green for All.)
America is not used to playing catch-up, not since World War II. We’ve built a massive, unparalleled economy through an always-evolving blend of entrepreneurship, public and private investment, and innovation.
We still lead the rest of the world, but we’ve slowed. Stumbled. Meanwhile our competitors are picking up speed – particularly in key sectors that promise long-term growth.
President Obama is presenting his [third] State of the Union address tonight, at the outset of a year that will culminate with a fiercely contested battle for his position. It may be the President’s last opportunity to establish the agenda that America needs in order to be competitive over the long term – while putting people to work immediately.
It is a moment for boldness – a time at which the President can outline a plan of action that shifts America’s focus to the future,
On December 29, 2011 the State Supreme Court dealt California’s 400 redevelopment agencies an unanticipated death blow. This includes the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, where I have served as a commissioner since 2002. Based on the court’s decision and the legislation that eliminated redevelopment agencies in California, the L.A. CRA and all other agencies will shut their doors on February 1, 2012.
The demise of redevelopment agencies, however, does not mean that we have to abandon the noble and necessary goal of public investment in distressed communities. To do so would punish those most in need and make it virtually impossible to address the poverty and unemployment currently faced by millions of Californians.
It is now up to the state legislature to act quickly to give cities a new tool to create good jobs, affordable housing and more sustainable communities. Here are three steps the legislature and Governor Jerry Brown can take to make this a reality.