Monday, July 13, 2015

Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Paul Rosenberg documents how Bernie Sanders is tapping into widespread public desire and support for more socially progressive policies:
Sanders is right to think that Scandanavian socialism would be popular here in the U.S., if only people knew more about it. And he’s right to make spreading that awareness a goal of his campaign. In fact, on a wide range of issue specifics Sanders lines up with strong majorities of public opinion—and has for decades.

You can get a strong sense of this from the results of the “Big Ideas” poll commissioned by the Progressive Change Institute in January, which has thus far gotten far less attention than it deserves. (Full disclosure: I’m a former blogmate with Adam Green, co-founder of PCI’s affiliate, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.) PCI first solicited ideas online through an open submission process (more than 2,600 specific proposals were submitted) and then let people vote on them (more than a million votes were cast). This bottom-up process was then tested out in a national poll. The following all received 70% support or more:
Allow Government to Negotiate Drug Prices (79%)
Give Students the Same Low Interest Rates as Big Banks (78%)
Universal Pre-Kindergarten (77%)
Fair Trade that Protect Workers, the Environment, and Jobs (75%)
End Tax Loopholes for Corporations that Ship Jobs Overseas (74%)
End Gerrymandering (73%)
Let Homeowners Pay Down Mortgage With 401k (72%)
Debt-Free College at All Public Universities (Message A) (71%)
Infrastructure Jobs Program — $400 Billion / Year (71%)
Require NSA to Get Warrants (71%)
Disclose Corporate Spending on Politics/Lobbying (71%)
Medicare Buy-In for All (71%)
Close Offshore Corporate Tax Loopholes (70%)
Green New Deal — Millions Of Clean-Energy Jobs (70%)
Full Employment Act (70%)
Expand Social Security Benefits (70%)
...Sanders is not simply cherry-picking a few popular ideas here and there. He’s tapping into a broadly shared set of inter-related attitudes and ideas about closely related issues Although these views and ideas are usually sidelined in most political discourse, the convergence of attitudes into a coherent policy texture is remarkably consistent. And this gets to a primary problem with America’s political system: liberal policy views form a coherent whole, every bit as much as conservative ones do, but they are far less publicly recognized, articulated, discussed and explored—despite the fact that they are wildly popular!
- Iglika Ivanova discusses how British Columbia can easily afford $10 per day child care (particularly since it effectively pays for itself). And some wise investments along those lines might be especially important for a province which continues to give away essential natural resources for virtually nothing.

- Dylan Matthews charts the connection between poverty, inquality and mental health. And Ryan Meili interviews Michael Marmot about the first steps toward turning awareness of the social determinants of health into policy gains.

- Alex Boutilier reports that past bluster that a requirement to seek warrants for the disclosure of personal information by telecoms would meaningfully affect its ability to work has proven false by the RCMP's own account. And with the unsupported arguments for a secretive and unaccountable security state falling apart at the seams, it's no wonder the Libs are paying the price for meekly parroting them.

- Finally, it's hardly possible to do more than scratch the surface of the must-read commentary on the Troika's overthrow of democracy in Greece. But Christopher Majka, Suzanne Moore, Paul Krugman, Daniel Altman, Chris Hedges, Matthew Yglesias, Yves Smith and Michael Babad offer some useful places to start.

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