Monthly Archives: December 2019

Just How Solid is the Trump Economic Boom?

It’s not hard to demonstrate all the soft spots in the economy that Trump keeps bragging about. What’s hard is to predict the political effect. Normally, incumbent presidents get re-elected when the economy is strong. A Yale economist named Ray Fair has even reduced this tendency to a mathematic model, with surprisingly good predictive power. But this is neither a normal president nor a normal economic boom. For starters, though wage growth is finally ticking upward, ordinary workers have nothing [...]

By |2019-12-30T18:52:18-05:00December 30th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

The Times Brands Sanders and Warren the Far Left

The sheer ideological bias of the mainstream press continues to astound. Today’s offender is a piece in The New York Times (page B2 of the Monday print edition) with the headline “Democrats Are Cautious About Ideas on the Far Left.” The Times’ examples are Medicare for All and free public higher education. Call me old-fashioned, but I always thought “far left” referred to such ideas as nationalizing the means of production. You know: Lenin, Fidel, Chairman Mao. Free public higher education is about as far [...]

By |2019-12-30T18:50:56-05:00December 30th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Sacking the Sacklers

Tufts University has belatedly decided to remove the Sackler name from its medical school and buildings, pointing out that the Sacklers’ behavior in promoting and profiting from the opioid epidemic is inconsistent with the school’s mission. The Sacklers’ feelings are hurt. Their lawyer sent the university a wounded letter, objecting that Tufts chose “to prioritize optics over a fair process.” Optics! This is a family that hid some $10 billion in profits cynically gleaned from profound human suffering and is [...]

By |2019-12-30T18:50:07-05:00December 30th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

How Trump Became a Fake Champion of Mexican Labor Rights

The NAFTA deal has hit a last-minute snag because one key provision in the House bill negotiated between the Democrats and Trump trade officials was not cleared with the Mexicans. This is the all-important provision giving U.S. inspectors the right to verify whether Mexico is carrying out its commitment to allow free trade unionism. Jesús Seade, Mexico’s chief trade negotiator on NAFTA, objected that this measure was news to him, and violated Mexico’s sovereignty. Mexico’s Senate had approved the new agreement [...]

By |2019-12-30T18:49:06-05:00December 30th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump: The Art Of The Trade Deal

While Democrats were focused on the details of the NAFTA negotiation, some of which represented genuine progress, Trump was focused on the headlines. Next year, as Democrats in the heartland claim credit for compelling Trump to agree to a better NAFTA, Trump will upstage them as the president who delivered the deal and got Democrats to vote for it. Advantage, Trump. And while the NAFTA deal provides new enforcement for labor rights in principle, the devil is in the [...]

By |2019-12-30T18:47:57-05:00December 30th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Democrats Prepare Articles of Impeachment

Today’s headlines, surreally, include the Democrats unveiling articles of impeachment against President Trump—and lining up to support a revised version of his remake of NAFTA. It remains to be seen who rolled whom. Over the course of several months, Democratic negotiators pressed Trump’s trade officials to improve the deal Trump negotiated. The revised deal, now endorsed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Ways and Means Chair Richie Neal, and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, reduces patent protection for prescription drugs, makes [...]

By |2019-12-30T18:46:53-05:00December 30th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

A Multi-Ballot Convention

My friend and co-founder Paul Starr and I have agreed and disagreed on a number of issues over the years. Our arguments have usually produced light rather than heat. In that spirit, here is one more: Paul wrote a provocative piece in late November titled “How Bloomberg and Sanders Could Decide the Democratic Race.” His contention was that candidates who seem unlikely to be nominated themselves are staying in the race in the hope of influencing the final choice of nominee; [...]

By |2019-12-09T17:50:16-05:00December 9th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Charter Schools and The Times

I made an error in my On Tap post last week on the New York Times feature piece on black public opinion and charter schools. My post criticized the Times for publishing a page-one story with an exaggerated headline, “Minority Voters Feel Betrayed Over Schools.” The Times piece cited a poll showing black support for charter schools at 47 percent. My mistake was to infer from this figure that black support and opposition were about equally divided. As one of the story’s authors pointed out in an email, [...]

By |2019-12-04T00:15:14-05:00December 4th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

The Times: In the Tank of Charter Schools

The Times ran an overwrought and overwritten front-page story Wednesday under the breathless headline, “Minority Voters Feel Betrayed Over Schools.” Betrayed? The headline on the jump page where the story continues is even more exaggerated: “Minority Voters Chafe as Democrats’ Charter School Support Wanes.” The piece reads as if it were dictated by the charter school lobby. Read the story very carefully, if you bother to read to the end, and you will learn that some black and Hispanic voters see [...]

By |2019-12-04T00:13:10-05:00December 4th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Bloomberg and Patrick: Gifts to Warren

Whatever the Democratic field needed, it wasn’t a socially liberal Wall Street billionaire hoping to buy the Democratic nomination. Donald Trump got elected in large part because working-class voters considered Democrats too liberal on social issues and not giving a damn about the way elites were thriving at the expense of ordinary working people. Mike Bloomberg is perfect—for Trump: very liberal on the environment, guns, etc., and very protective of the business model that produces billionaires like himself. He’s [...]

By |2019-12-04T00:12:17-05:00December 4th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments