Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Neoliberalism as Structure and Ideology in Higher Education

Neoliberalism as Structure and Ideology in Higher Education  A few weeks ago I speculated on the structural aspect of neoliberalism at an economy-wide level, the way its characteristic framing of economic decision-making may have emerged from changes in the role of finance in business and the composition of high-end portfolios.  My purpose was to push back against […]

Another Question for the Census

Another Question for the Census The Trump gang has kicked up a ruckus over its plan to insert a question about citizenship in the 2020 decennial census.  It’s a transparent attempt to reduce the response rate of immigrants, disenfranchising them in reapportionment and government spending formulas, despite the Constitution’s call for an enumeration of “persons”, not citizens. […]

Test Tube Politics: llhan Omar, Anti-Semitism and AIPAC

Test Tube Politics: llhan Omar, Anti-Semitism and AIPAC I don’t think I’ve ever seen a political statement triggering evidence (mixed) about its own truth as dramatically as Ilhan Omar’s quip that pro-Israeli bias in congress is “about the Benjamins, baby”.  It’s as if you wrote a letter criticizing the Post Office and had it returned […]

The Two Percent Solution: Warren and the Stochastic Jubilee

The Two Percent Solution: Warren and the Stochastic Jubilee Wait long enough, and great ideas come back around, although not necessarily wearing the same garb.  Elizabeth Warren has just come out for a 2% wealth tax (above $50 million).*  But this is simply an annualized version of my lump sum stochastic jubilee.  What’s the advantage of redistributing the […]

The Key to Gentrification

The Key to Gentrification In the world of urban politics, there is probably no more potent populist rallying cry than the demand to halt gentrification.  Activists have fought it on multiple fronts: zoning, development subsidies, permitting, rent control—every lever housing policies afford.  But what if they’re mistaking cause for effect, hacking away at the visible […]

Economic Growth and Climate Change: Mistaking an Output Variable for an Instrument

Economic Growth and Climate Change: Mistaking an Output Variable for an Instrument When I first started arguing against the degrowthers, I thought they were a small, uninfluential fringe, important only because they had a sway over a portion of the left—what we might call the Naomi Klein left.  That was then.  Today degrowth is entering the mainstream, as can be […]

The US Postal Service in a Parallel Universe

The US Postal Service in a Parallel Universe Imagine that, instead of the dinosaur of a postal service we have today—the product, among other things, of congressional insistence that no government outfit can compete with private business in lucrative new markets—we had an entrepreneurial, innovative public dynamo.  In this other universe, the USPS was always […]

On the Front Lines of Climate Change: Old White Homeowners, Many of them Upper Class

On the Front Lines of Climate Change: Old White Homeowners, Many of them Upper Class The other night I was sitting at home, locked in a conversation about climate change and race.  How is this a racial issue, I asked?  I realize that the society I live in has pervasive racism, and one should always […]

Neoliberalism as Structure and Ideology

Neoliberalism as Structure and Ideology As someone who has looked at the world through a political economic lense for decades, I am restless with the “cultural turn”.  Once upon a time, it is said, the bad old vulgarians of the left believed that economic structure—the ownership of capital, the rules under which economies operate and […]