Conceptual Frameworks, Language, and Messaging: Why Conservatives have dominated American public discourse, politics, and policy for a generation

October 21, 2011  |   Progressive Political Commentary

Conceptual Frameworks, Language, and Messaging: Why Conservatives have dominated American public discourse, politics, and policy for a generation

The anger on the Tea Party right, and the frustration on the left that has energized the "Occupy” movement in cities across America, spring from similar, mostly economic, dissatisfactions. The difference is that those on the rightght have been co-opted to a set of beliefs that are actually in opposition to their own economic interests. Those involved in the “Occupy” movement, and others on the left are quite clear about where their interests lie, despite concerns by media pundits that the participants in the “Occupy” movement thus far lack a clear set of policy demands. Voters from the right vote their aspirations, rather than their reality, while the policies they support make it less likely that they (or their children) will ever achieve the economic security and self reliance to which they aspire. Led to believe that they could succeed if only government would get out of the way, they believe in “personal freedom,” but lack an understanding of the nature of freedom as defined by our Constitution.  They advocate an ideology of “personal responsibility,” rejecting the mutual responsibility required for social and national cohesion and willfully ignorant of the benefits they enjoy thanks to a social contract embodied by our government. The right demands lower taxes and ever smaller, ever more impotent government, focused narrowly on national security, administration of a harsh conception of justice (largely punishment, meted out by a for-profit prison industry), and promotion of the orderly but “unfettered” conduct of business.  Despite incongruity with a small-government

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U.S. Trade Policy and Declining Manufacturing: Where do we go from here?

August 16, 2010  |   Economics & Trade

U.S. Trade Policy and Declining Manufacturing: Where do we go from here?  By Paul Crist, Aug. 14, 2010 The U.S. economy and the manufacturing sector in particular, face both short-term and long-term challenges.  There is debate about whether government can or should play a role in addressing those challenges, and if so, what are the fiscal, industrial, regulatory, and trade policies that would benefit the stakeholders, which essentially include all U.S. citizens in one way or another. I should acknowledge at the outset a bias toward thoughtfully considered government interventions to guide the economy and trade in ways that benefit American workers and allow them to participate in the gains that accrue from their labor.  There are economic reasons for my bias that have nothing to do with either socialist or altruistic impulse.  That bias in no way means that I favor protectionism or a retreat from global trade, or that government intervention in the economy is always desirable, but there are, I believe, issues and stakeholders that get too little consideration and solutions to structural economic problems that are given short shrift in the name of conservative ideological orthodoxy. There is ample evidence that without adequate and well-designed regulatory intervention in domestic and global markets, capital and political power tends to migrate upward and become concentrated at the top of the economic ladder. We see that phenomenon in country after country, most recently in the U.S.  Concentrated wealth becomes problematic when it undermines social cohesion and a sense of

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