(Note: Brian Beutler’s post first appeared on Talking Points Memo. Frying Pan News presents it here as a snapshot of the Congressional fight over the future of America’s social safety net and does not intend it to be an endorsement of one political party or criticism of another.)
The GOP’s accession to reality on the payroll tax cut is being cast as a key victory for Democrats and President Obama. Republicans caved, the payroll tax will almost certainly be renewed, and the economy won’t take a tough hit just as the recovery’s beginning to accelerate.
But it also reveals a flaw — a potentially huge flaw — in the conservative movement’s generational strategy to roll back the federal safety net.
These might sound like two wildly disparate issues, but they’re actually variations on a years-long theme.
“Creative destruction” has been widely invoked again since Newt Gingrich began attacking Mitt Romney’s record at the private-equity firm, Bain Capital. Of course, the term is a perennial favorite with business writers. But in response to Gingrich’s attacks, Romney and his allies have insisted that Bain exemplifies “creative destruction,” the closely-linked glory and pain of unfettered capitalism.
“Creative destruction,” the concept, however, carries a more mixed message than many of Romney’s defenders may think. In fact, it points to deep problems that face conservatives whenever they argue that ordinary people should look past the ugly and brutal side of economic life. The phrase was first used by the Austrian economist, Joseph Schumpeter, in his 1942 book, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. It referred to a phenomenon Schumpeter had been writing about for decades, a process bound up with entrepreneurship and innovation.
Entrepreneurs, Schumpeter argued, were no ordinary businesspeople. Entrepreneurs were visionaries,
It seems inevitable that national coverage of the Occupy movement has been dying down. The sporadic stories I read are of arrests of occupiers in different cities, but I surmise that this too will eventually become old hat in the media and we will soon settle our attentions wholeheartedly on the presidential election, which in my opinion is a real shame.
I’ve grown weary of our gerrymandered elections. For a country that holds freedom of choice so dear to American life, I find it odd and disheartening that we are really only given two parties to choose from. The consumer in me gets depressed every election cycle. It’s akin to going to Ben and Jerry’s and being told that you can only have chocolate or vanilla.
My sincere hope is that this year the narrative is different. I am pinning my hopes on the Occupy movement to resurrect itself to the national news media and overshadow our fixed-choice election for the presidency.
(This post originally appeared February 8 on the author’s Switchboard blog.)
Yesterday, the Bureau of Sanitation for the City of L.A. released its recommendations for fixing the inefficiencies in L.A.’s waste system. After more than a year of careful consideration, the Bureau determined that an exclusive franchise system with 11 franchise zones for the commercial and multi-family sectors would provide the best solution to increasing recycling and minimizing the burden that waste collection imposes on L.A. residents.
As I have written before, the commercial and multi-family sectors are responsible for approximately 70 percent of the waste L.A. sends to landfills, so it is an important nut to crack to meet the City’s zero waste goals. I have written several blogs on this issue and on the benefits of going to zero waste ranging from reducing our dependence on polluting and space hogging landfills to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to creating more jobs.
It’s not known if the Tea Party will ever be identified by one color, the way our two dominant political parties are. With red and blue already taken, it’s tempting to guess that the Tea Party would embrace – well, white. In any case, it won’t be green. Consider a February 4 New York Times piece, which spells out the tireless campaign waged by the movement against any legislation tilting toward a sustainable environment. Some of the laws vehemently contested include:
The reason for Tea Party opposition to these seemingly uncontroversial undertakings is a deep suspicion of an obscure and nonbinding United Nations resolution passed in 1992.