Daily digest – Starting from zero
What you need to know to navigate today’s most critical debates.
The Fatal Distraction (NYT)
Paul Krugman argues that last week’s jobs numbers — or lack thereof– prove the boldest thing the president can do in Thursdays’s speech is remind Washington what really matters.
Obama tells labor unions in Detroit he won’t wait on Congress over new jobs plan (WaPo)
In a Labor Day rally, Obama said the reaction to Thursday’s speech will determine whether the GOP is willing to put the country’s best interests ahead of politics. Everyone put your hands down; he has to work out the answer by himself.
Public Job Creation (NYT)
Nancy Folbre notes that the big question mark in Obama’s plan is whether he’ll back proposals for direct job creation instead of continuing to gently nudge businesses to spend some of their many billions of dollars to hire more workers.
The Second Death of John Maynard Keynes (The Nation)
Eric Alterman writes that despite the obvious benefits of government spending, Republicans have constructed an alternate reality in which it’s the bane of economic growth, and Barack Obama has all but resigned himself to living there.
What Democrats can do about Obama (Salon)
As the president’s poll numbers continue to drop and voters leave his damaged party in droves, Roosevelt Institute Fellow Matt Stoller argues that it’s time for Democrats to think about nominating a Democrat in 2012.
The Party of Ideas (TAP)
Paul Waldman writes that while Democrats like to tinker at the margins of accepted political thought, Republicans prefer to have their minds blown by books like Amity Shlaes’s The Forgotten Man, a.k.a. The Idiot’s Guide to the New Deal.
The Limping Middle Class (NYT)
Robert Reich points out that after decades of tax cuts and deregulation, the rising tide for the top 5 percent isn’t lifting all boats. Instead, everyone else is sinking, the life rafts have sprung a leak, and the rich may wind up shipwrecked.
The Non-Scenic Route to the Place We’re Going Anyway (LRB)
John Lanchester notes that there’s hard data to suggest that having no government at all would be better for the economy than letting banks continue to dictate policy.
Europeans Talk of Sharp Change in Fiscal Affairs (NYT)
All it’s taken is the impending collapse of the European economy to persuade the 17 EU member nations that maybe the point of being in a union is to work together.
Harold Meyerson writes that recent criticism of the NLRB stems from the fact that it’s the only government institution that hasn’t kowtowed to the ongoing effort to roll workers’ rights back to some time before the Industrial Revolution.
Stop bashing government workers (WaPo)
Katrina vanden Heuvel points out that police, firefighters, and other first responders were hailed as national heroes in the wake of 9/11. A decade later, those who answer the call to public service have become the Tea Party’s favorite villains.
The Decline of Manufacturing in America: A Case Study (Naked Capitalism)
Yves Smith writes that the problem with manufacturing in America isn’t that workers are too demanding. Often, it’s that their managers are completely incompetent.
Obama to Breathers: Sorry, Wait Until 2013 (MoJo)
Delaying EPA action plays into the canard that jobs and the environment are in conflict, but even the boldest entrepreneurs need a steady supply of oxygen.
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