Sunday Morning Sullivan

A mostly political Weblog.
Dec. 28 2006 6:11 AM

Sunday Morning Sullivan

But will he play in Plano?

(Continued from Page 16)

Of course, there's also the point that if anyone can guarantee Sunni leaders freedom from Shiite attacks, you'd think it would be Sadr, precisely because his army is suspected of carrying out so many of those attacks. So I'm not saying we should dismiss the Hayden Scenario out of hand. ...

P.P.S.: For an account of what it's like living in Baghdad these days, I once again recommend Iraq the Model, specifically this post. It's clear the recent violence has been terrifying and demoralizing. It's also clear that things could still get much worse. ...  11:21 P.M.

Bring back Zarqawi? His successor is a much more effective leader, according to Bill Roggio. ... 1:50 A.M.

My 'Macaca': My attempt at a dramatic vlog reenactment of that Mark Warner rumor  turned out a lot more embarrassing than I'd planned. ... Should I ever seek the presidency, they can just play this clip and I'll drop out immediately. ... 1:19 A.M.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Advertisement

10 of 11 Ain't Bad: According to the WSJ 's David Wessel  [$], here are the policies the incoming Dems are considering to reduce "the gap between winners and losers in the American economy."

1. Raise the minimum wage.

2. "[F]orce companies to provide more and clearer details of CEO pay, devise policies to recapture incentive pay if earnings are later restated, and require shareholder approval of 'golden parachute' payments to dismissed executives."

3. "[S]low the flood of imports and rethink the pacts that President Bush has been negotiating to lower trade barriers."

4. "[R]equire employers to recognize a union after a majority of workers sign cards asking for representation instead of secret-ballot votes."

5. "[L]et at least some of Mr. Bush's income-tax cuts expire in 2010 or roll them back--including "[ r]aising the top two tax rates, now 33% and 35%" and raising the top (15%) capital gains tax rate.

6. Enlarging the earned-income tax credit

7.  "[O]ffer eligible dislocated workers up to half the difference between weekly earnings at their old and new jobs, up to $10,000 a year"

8. "Allowing businesses with up to 100 employees tax credits to buy [health] insurance through a government-sponsored pool modeled on the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan, which gives federal workers a choice of private health insurance plans"

9.  A "'universal 401(k)' to which employees, employers and, in some cases, the government would contribute, a cousin to the private accounts Mr. Bush wanted to carve out of Social Security.

10. "[D]oing more to help Americans pay for college, including making up to $12,000 a year in college tuition tax-deductible ... [snip] as well as cutting interest rates on student loans and increasing the maximum Pell Grant for low-income students to $5,100 from $4,050."

11. "[M]ore government support of Pre-K education." [Boldface added]

Does anything on this list seem like a big problem to you? It's surprisingly anodyne. Only one item stands out to me--#4, which could dramatically change the structure of the American economy for the worse, spreading unprodctive, legalistic, Detroit-style union practices (work rules, promotion by seniority, protections for lousy workers, etc.) by subjecting non-union workers to thuggish peer pressure. The others might do little harm, in moderation (#3) or some substantial good (#1, #8, #9). But does anyone think that any of these measures--individually or in concert--is going to reverse the growing gap between the economy's winners and losers? What will the Dems do if they pass their agenda and the public realizes the rich are still getting richer (as they apparently did in the Clinton years)--while the gap between "winners" and "losers" isn't shrinking? ...

P.S.: How does greater immigration by unskilled workers fit into the Dems' inequality-averse agenda? It doesn't, that's how. As Demo-pessimist Thomas Edsall, in today's NYT [$], notes: 

The strengthening of the Democrats' protectionist wing is virtually certain to force to the surface [an]internal conflict between the party's pro- and anti-immigration wings. This conflict among Democrats remained submerged while President Bush and the Republican House and Senate majorities fought without resolution over the same issue. [snip] ...

The Democratic Party made major gains in the Mountain West, he says, and many of these voters are ''populist with a lot of nativism,'' firmly opposed to the more liberal immigration policies of key party leaders.

A solid block of Democrats who won this month -- Jon Tester, James Webb, Sherrod Brown and Heath Shuler included -- is inclined to put the brakes on all cross-border activity (otherwise known as globalization): trade, outsourcing and the flow of human labor. Nolan McCarty of Princeton, writing with two colleagues, has provided some empirical data supporting the argument that immigration has led ''to policies that increase economic inequality.'' Significant numbers within the Democratic Party agree with this reasoning. 

Update: bhTV has posted a  video discussion of this subject, including a bottom line.. ... 9:27 P.M. link