Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Jonathan Chait points out how the gap between the citizens hardest hit by a weak economy and a political class which faces virtually none of its effects explains the lack of urgency in dealing with mass unemployment:
The political scientist Larry Bartels has found (and measured) that members of Congress respond much more strongly to the preferences of their affluent constituents than their poor ones. And for affluent people, there is essentially no recession. Unemployment for workers with a bachelors degree is 4 percent — boom times. Unemployment is also unusually low in the Washington, D.C., area, owing to our economy’s reliance on federal spending, which has not had to impose the punishing austerity of so many state and local governments.- David Atkins follows up on digby's analysis as to how a push for additional handouts to the rich is aimed at insulated today's upper class from the vagaries of luck which helped it to win a privileged position in the first place. But as thwap points out, there are some wealthier citizens who are looking to improve matters for all rather than closing off the path behind them - and we should be happy to encourage that sentiment.
I live in a Washington neighborhood almost entirely filled with college-educated professionals, and it occurred to me not long ago that, when my children grow up, they’ll have no personal memory of having lived through the greatest economic crisis in eighty years. It is more akin to a famine in Africa. For millions and millions of Americans, the economic crisis is the worst event of their lives. They have lost jobs, homes, health insurance, opportunities for their children, seen their skills deteriorate, and lost their sense of self-worth. But from the perspective of those in a position to alleviate their suffering, the crisis is merely a sad and distant tragedy.
- Meanwhile, Sid Ryan discusses one of the obvious elements of that effort: a focus on "flexible" labour which ensures that ensures most workers have neither reasonable wages nor any job security. (And lest there be any doubt, there's plenty of desire for the latter.) But sadly, far too many anti-worker governments - including Dalton McGuinty's Libs - seem to prefer picking fights with workers to keep them as insecure as possible.
- Finally, Ken MacQueen neatly sums up the Cons' Olympic spirit.