Category Archives: Politics

The Poison Pill In “Obamacare” That Helped Kill Labor Law Reform

Source: Steve Early, WorkingUSA, Volume 13, Issue 3, September 2010
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Embedded in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 was a poison pill for labor. It took the form of an excise tax on higher-cost, job-based medical coverage–the so-called “Cadillac health plans” negotiated by unions themselves. This deadly political booby-trap became a major organizational distraction and resource drain during a key phase of labor’s health-care campaign. Instead of mounting a broad fight for expanded social insurance, unions were forced to wage a frantic defensive struggle against taxation of worker benefits. The “Cadillac tax” backed by Barack Obama was so redolent of John McCain’s own stance on health care during the 2008 presidential campaign that it produced a “working class revolt” in Massachusetts. There, a Republican opposed to the excise tax defeated the Democratic Senatorial candidate running for the late Ted Kennedy’s seat in January 2010. When the Democrats’ lost their filibuster-proof “super-majority” in the Senate, the already controversial Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) became the first political casualty of “ObamaCare.”

Thinking about Think Tanks: Strategies for Progressive Social Work

Source: Julie E. Miller-Cribbsa; Brent E. Cagleb; Anthony P. Natalec; Zoe Cummings, Journal of Policy Practice, Volume 9, Issue 3 & 4 July 2010
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Conservative think tanks have socialized and trained a fleet of media-ready advocates and pundits and linked their conservative agenda directly to the public via the media. Promoting ideology over science, conservative think tanks have lowered expectations around rational and empirically validated policy choices while demonizing individuals and communities, justifying the drastic funding cuts and ideologically based policies and programs that further marginalize oppressed groups in the United States. This article details the strategies of conservative think tanks and their role in influencing public policy and considers the smaller impact and influence experienced by the progressive movement. Implications for progressive social work practice, education, and research are highlighted.

Religion in the 2008 Presidential Election

Source: Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, August 11, 2010

The Democratic Party made a concerted effort to court religious voters in the 2008 presidential election that pitted Democrat Barack Obama against Republican John McCain.1 Led by Obama himself and aided by progressive religious activists, the Democrats reached out to numerous religious groups in hopes of narrowing the “God gap,” a media catchphrase for a striking pattern in American politics: the more often Americans go to church or other worship services, the more likely they are to vote Republican.

2010 U.S. Election Ratings

Source: Google, 2010

How will the balance of power between Democrats and Republicans shake out after the elections on November 2? Many political experts and news sources track and revise predictions, but until now it’s been hard to compare perspectives. We’ve worked with some of the top names in politics — Cook, Rothenberg, CQ-Roll Call, and RealClearPolitics — to make it easier to track the daily changes in the political landscape.

The Debate over Expiring Tax Cuts: What about the Deficit?

Source: Adam Looney, Brookings Institution, Hamilton Project, August 11, 2010

From the summary:
As the economy begins to recover from the Great Recession, policymakers must confront the next fiscal challenge: the long-run federal deficit. Over the next ten years, the cumulative deficit is projected to exceed $10 trillion if current budget policies are continued. Addressing the deficit will require extremely difficult and unpopular tradeoffs. Consider that in 2020 federal spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, defense, and interest on debt will exceed 106 percent of 2020 tax revenues, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Clearly, balancing the budget will require either cutting these valued programs (to say nothing of the rest of federal spending) or raising taxes.

Response of the US Labour Movement to the Economic Crisis

Source: Jason Russell,Global Labour University, Conference Paper 2010

The American labour movement has, like progressive movements across the world, attempted to mount an effective response to the economic crisis that began in 2008. American unions and their allies have tried to promote a social and economic agenda that has emphasized the role of the state in protecting domestic jobs and social programs. This includes promoting state intervention to protect the manufacturing sector, and greater regulation of the financial sector. These efforts have often been pursued through the labour movement’s traditional political alliance with the Democratic Party. Labour’s agenda has borne decidedly mixed results.

Influence Explorer

Source: Sunlight Foundation, 2010

Influence Explorer uses disclosure data to identify the largest donors to all federal and state politicians, PACs and political parties and the biggest spenders on Washington lobbyists.

If you can’t find the organization or individual you’re looking for here, try searching

EMILY’s Friends: The Emerging Relationship between EMILY’s List, Organized Labor, and Women Candidates in U.S. House Elections, 2002-2008

Source: Rosalyn Cooperman, APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper, August 15, 2010

From the abstract:
This paper seeks evidence of a similar partnership between organized labor and women’s PACs on behalf of women congressional candidates. I examine the electoral and fundraising activity of EMILY’s List and AFL-CIO’s PAC, the Committee on Political Education (AFL-CIO COPE) in the four most recent House election cycles (2002-2008). I find that EMILY’s List and AFL-CIO work in cooperation, not competition, on behalf of preferred women House candidates. The endorsement of a woman candidate by EMILY’s List, measured by the receipt of a hard money contribution, significantly increases the likelihood of the woman also receiving funds from AFL-CIO. I attribute the willingness of AFL-CIO to work in partnership with EMILY’s List to important demographic and organizational changes within the union (Asher, et al. 2001; Francia 2006). That EMILY’s List and AFL-CIO cooperate on behalf of women candidates raises intriguing possibilities for Democratic women candidates and provides one explanation for the growing party gap between Democratic women and their Republican counterparts in Congress.

Federal Health Law Helping Cash-Strapped States — And Right-wing State Leaders Lining up to Benefit

Source: Charles Monaco, Progressive States Network, Stateside Dispatch, September 9, 2010

While the right wing continues their rhetoric to repeal, many of the same states calling loudly in both legislatures and courts for the law’s rejection are simultaneously preparing to implement it and benefiting from the opportunities the health care overhaul provides them. In fact, a Department of Health and Human Services release revealed that, of the 20 states who have joined the constitutionally dubious multi-state lawsuit seeking to overturn the health care law, eight of them – Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, and Washington – were claiming subsidies for retired state government employees provided by the very law their states are arguing should be thrown out by the courts.
State Implementation of Federal Reform: Resources
Failure of Right Wing Obstruction in the States
Over 1000 Legislators Sign Letters Supporting Federal Health Care Reform