Friday, December 29, 2017

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Richard Partington writes that the poorest Britons stand to bear the brunt of the next wave of technological change through further diminished employment prospects. But Peter Goodman points out that a stronger social safety net in Sweden (among other countries) tends to ensure that workers share in the gains of increased productivity.

- The Canadian Press reports on a new survey addressing the financial priorities of Canadians, with rising personal debt ranking at the top of the list.

- Sean McElwee argues that U.S. Democrats need to respond to the data showing strong public support for progressive policies, rather than looking for excuses to move to the right:
In the average DCCC target district, fifty-nine percent of the public support allowing a woman choose whether she wants to have an abortion and 57 percent support a path to citizenship. More than half of individuals in the average district either strongly or somewhat agree that white people have advantages because of their skin and 73 percent support a higher minimum wage. Less than half of the public in the average district believe that the government should prohibit spending on abortion (the so-called Hyde Amendment).
In addition, these districts are favorable towards climate policy, with 64 percent support for a renewable energy mandate and 68 percent support for the Environmental Protection Agency regulating carbon in the average district. Far from running away from gun control, Democrats can safely support an assault weapons ban, which has support among 61 percent of individuals in thes average district. Democrats can abandon “tough on crime” rhetoric, because 63 percent support for ending mandatory minimums. Even examining only the most contentious districts, a progressive Democrat would be on the right side of all ten issues modeled.

What we discovered here is along the lines of what Skovron has found in past research. In a study from March, Skovron and David Broockman found that Democratic state legislators regularly underestimate how liberal their constituents are (as do Republicans, who believe their constituents are far more conservative than they are in reality). Democrats simply aren’t confident that the voters support them on policy positions that we typically consider liberal, especially in areas like gun control and abortion, despite extensive data suggesting voters agree with Democratic positions on these issues.
After decades of watching the middle class get hollowed out by corporate interests and the Republican Party use racial divisions to [sow] resentment, it’s clear that voters are ready for something else. Democrats shouldn’t be afraid to offer it. The good news is that there are candidates are throwing out the centrist playbook and charting their own course.
- And in an important example of the popularity of progressive politics in Canada, the Angus Reid Institute's latest polling shows strong support for a $15 minimum wage in Ontario.

- Meanwhile, David Hopkins writes that big business has been the main beneficiary of the U.S.' political culture war. And Jessica Corbett reports on Bloomberg's analysis showing the U.S. with the worst gap between CEOs and workers in the world even before the latest round of corporate giveaways takes hold.

- Finally, Brian Sullivan and Jim Efstathiou Jr. take note of the growing cost of weather disasters linked to climate change.

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