Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Frank Rich writes that the lack of a meaningful response to the 2008 financial crisis has understandably undermined public confidence in the U.S.' future:
Everything in the country is broken. Not just Washington, which failed to prevent the financial catastrophe and has done little to protect us from the next, but also race relations, health care, education, institutional religion, law enforcement, the physical infrastructure, the news media, the bedrock virtues of civility and community. Nearly everything has turned to crap, it seems, except Peak TV (for those who can afford it).

That loose civic concept known as the American Dream — initially popularized during the Great Depression by the historian James Truslow Adams in his Epic of America — has been shattered. No longer is lip service paid to the credo, however sentimental, that a vast country, for all its racial and sectarian divides, might somewhere in its DNA have a shared core of values that could pull it out of any mess. Dead and buried as well is the companion assumption that over the long term a rising economic tide would lift all Americans in equal measure. When that tide pulled back in 2008 to reveal the ruins underneath, the country got an indelible picture of just how much inequality had been banked by the top one percent over decades, how many false promises to the other 99 percent had been broken, and how many central American institutions, whether governmental, financial, or corporate, had betrayed the trust the public had placed in them...
- And Julia Conley notes that older Americans are starting to bear the brunt of policies which initially seemed to favour them at the expense of younger generations - particularly as co-signors to unmanageable student loans are seeing the bills come due.

- Meanwhile, Ben Batros discusses the importance of an international fight against tax avoidance and tax havens to meaningfully reduce inequality rooted in gross wealth disparities.

- Pat Thane points out that there has been little change in the prevalence and causes of poverty in the UK over the past century-plus. And Gary Bloch implores the Ford PCs to work on building supportive social programs, rather than making it their primary aim punish the poor (and in the process increasing the costs of the health and justice systems for everybody).

- Finally, Jenny Schuetz notes that both renters and homeowners would benefit from a housing policy designed to ensure everybody has a safe and affordable home.

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