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Is the tide turning?

February 22nd, 2013

It’s easy to overestimate the significance of a single electoral cycle (look at the Repubs after 2010), but there really does seem to have been a big shift in US political debate. Of course, that’s from a position where centrists like (first-term) Obama were occupying the positions held by moderate Republicans 25 years ago. It’s reasonable to feel a bit ambivalent about ‘victories’ like repealing the most regressive bits of the wholly regressive Bush tax cuts. A couple of links of interest (a few weeks old, but I’m running behind on most things)

* The Hoover Institution’s Policy Review is ceasing publication, and its final issue includes a piece by longtime editor Tod Lingren who concedes defeat, at least for the moment, to what he calls Left 3.0. This is his name for the self-described “Democratic wing of the Democratic party” which has, in his view, absorbed and tamed the radical left, defeated the Clintonite New Democrats, and dominated the Republicans. Lingren is surprisingly sympathetic, essentially implying that the only thing wrong with Left 3.0 is that too much egalitarianism is bad for economic growth

* Michael Lind gives chapter and verse supporting a view that I advanced a while ago, that US politics is best understood by treating “Southern White” as an ethnicity. There’s an interesting comparison to the now-disappeared nativist movements among Northeastern Yankees in response to Irish and other European immigrants

If US politics does shift to the left, what effects will that have elsewhere? Even the most liberal Democrats would be centrist at best in most countries, and their most radical goals (single-payer health care, a progressive income tax, parental leave and so on) would be uncontroversial in most places, so there won’t be much direct effect. On the other hand, in Australia and other English speaking countries, a large slab of the right wing gets its talking points from the US Republican bubble, via the Murdoch press, and look to an idealised version of the US as a free-market model. If the Repubs are discredited at home, that will create some problems for their followers abroad.

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  1. Tony Lynch
    February 26th, 2013 at 14:08 | #1

    Ernestine, thank you for saying it for me.

  2. Jim Rose
    February 26th, 2013 at 19:09 | #2

    @Ernestine Gross what is the purpose of the Tobin tax?

  3. Chris Warren
    February 26th, 2013 at 20:17 | #3

    Jim Rose :
    @Ernestine Gross what is the purpose of the Tobin tax?

    Just read Inge Kaul and John Langmore, “Potential Uses of the Revenue from a Tobin Tax” in The Tobin Tax Coping with Financial Volatility ed. Haq, Kaul, Grunberg, OUP, 1996.

    Although any librarian will be able to point you to more recent stuff.

    Could you please read this post twice to ensure you have understood it.

  4. Chris Warren
    February 26th, 2013 at 20:18 | #4

    Jim Rose :
    @Ernestine Gross what is the purpose of the Tobin tax?

    Just read Inge Kaul and John Langmore, “Potential Uses of the Revenue from a Tobin Tax” in The Tobin Tax Coping with Financial Volatility ed. Haq, Kaul, Grunberg, OUP, 1996.

    Although any librarian will be able to point you to more recent stuff.

    Could you please read this post twice to ensure you have understood it.

  5. Jim Rose
    February 27th, 2013 at 05:43 | #5

    @Chris Warren What is the point of a Tobin tax if you already have a capital gains tax?

    Why do share markets fall after the announcement of a Tobin tax? Trading in a more stable market should be value enhancing and increase share prices? Ditto exporters and more stable currency prices etc? exporter share prices should increase because of less need to hedge?

  6. Chris Warren
    February 27th, 2013 at 08:28 | #6

    @Jim Rose

    Just read Inge Kaul and John Langmore, “Potential Uses of the Revenue from a Tobin Tax” in The Tobin Tax Coping with Financial Volatility ed. Haq, Kaul, Grunberg, OUP, 1996.

    Although any librarian will be able to point you to more recent stuff covering other issues.

    Could you please read this post slowly a couple of times to ensure you have understood it.

  7. rog
    February 27th, 2013 at 10:18 | #7

    “What is the point of a Tobin tax if you already have a capital gains tax?”

    As a CGT is not a Tobin Tax there is no question to answer.

  8. Sancho
    February 27th, 2013 at 18:26 | #8

    Reports of a Republican civil war or renaissance are greatly exaggerated.

    So far a creationist governor has said that the party should stop being stupid, Fox has created a platform to more effectively communicate to latino voters that the GOP hates them, and the old white guy collective exchanged notes and agreed that everything occurring after 1955 is still a mistake and needs to be repealed, but the party needs to communicate that more clearly to young and minority voters.

    Not really rising from the ashes as much as turning the rotisserie.

  9. Jim Rose
    February 28th, 2013 at 13:08 | #9

    @Sancho The GOP controls 30 governorships, the House, has a chance at taking the Senate in 2014 and can’t be written off for 2016.

    It was the democrats who voted againts civil rights bills. They spilt their vote in 1964

    The only former members of the Ku Klux Kan in congress retired as elder statesmen of the Democratic Party such as Grand Kleegle Robert Bird.

    LBJ was put on JFK’s ticket to win back Texas. The democrats played both sides of the fence and kept courting the Dixicrat vote, which was working class, until it died out.

    The vast majority of the Congressional GOP voted for the Civil Rights Act 1964 as they did with all previous civil rights bills. How is that a Southern strategy?

  10. Katz
    February 28th, 2013 at 14:17 | #10

    The events JR misrepresents occurred in or before 1964.

    Nixon’s Southern Strategy was formulated in 1968.

    Strom Thurmond, arch racist segregationist switched from the Democrats to the Republicans in 1964. Was this because he decided to stop being a segregationist racist?

  11. Jim Rose
    March 1st, 2013 at 18:48 | #11

    @Katz Eisenhower won much of the South in 1952 and 1956. Was that a coincidence?
    • Republicans are the party of middle class, so as incomes of the South and North converged over the 20th century, so would their voting patterns.
    • As more Southerners moved to the suburbs and joined the middle class, more of them voted Republican.

    Working-class white voters in the South continued to vote Democrat until the 1990s.

    How did 1968 go? Nixon lost a majority of southern electoral votes to Wallace. The Eisenhower democrats were not enough for Nixon

    The South voted for Carter in 1976 – as Carter said: “I have no trouble pitching for Wallace votes and black votes at the same time”.

    All segregationists in the Senate were Democrats e.g., Harry Byrd, Robert Byrd, Albert Gore Sr., William Fulbright, Russell Long, Southern Manifesto author Sam Ervin and Richard Russell. Only one of them became a Republican: Thurmond.

    P.S. see Connie Rice: ‘Top 10 Election Myths to Get Rid Of’, November 16, 2004
    “Myth no 1: The Republicans now have a lock on politics for the next 50 years.

    This is the most dangerous myth of all. There is a lot that can turn this around before the 2006 elections further cement this Republican victory into a lock.

    The good news is that the country is still centrist and prefers moderate positions — when it can get the facts on an issue… A competent party can turn this around.”
    How the defeated swap talking points. How the victorious forget their darkest hours.

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