Monday Buzz: Obama's Restraint, Generational Attitudes & Health Care Reform, More

Simon had an op-ed published by Demos and Open Left about the challenges progressives face in the 21st century, and why we are better-suited to address them:

The challenges in front of the center-left political parties of the West today are extraordinary, the greatest we have faced since the rise of European fascism seventy years ago. Today, as in the past, only a progressive vision is fit to meet them. Facing them forthrightly, and showing the courage to tackle them head-on will be perhaps the greatest test of them all.

Rob had an extended quote this week in a big Associated Press story about defecits and spending. From the article, by Tom Raum:

"I think the Republican attack on the deficit is succeeding because it's real," said Rob Shapiro, a former economic adviser to President Bill Clinton, and chairman of Sonecon, an economic-consulting firm.

Obama is factual in saying he inherited a trillion-dollar-plus deficit from predecessor George W. Bush, "but he made it worse," Shapiro said. The deficit in the current budget year is now estimated to come in at more than $1.8 trillion, pushed higher by the stimulus spending, bailouts and increasing war costs.

Shapiro said he believes White House officials are taking the GOP attacks very seriously. "They're also concerned about long-term deficits and the impact they could have on the economy and on the ability to act two, three years down the road — which of course is moving up to the re-election season," he said.

Rob was also quoted by Donald Lambro in the conservative publication Townhall:

Listen to what Democrat Robert Shapiro, a top economist in the Clinton administration's Commerce Department, had to say in a recent analysis for the New Democratic Network: "Even so, the healthcare reforms being considered by Congress all involve even higher healthcare costs for most businesses, which will mean more job cuts even as the economy grows. No one questions that healthcare reform is an urgent, national priority -- as are efforts to contain the risks of climate change. But we gain little except a false sense of accomplishment by enacting healthcare reforms that also aggravate the new jobs problem, or climate legislation such as Waxman-Markey which cannot deliver significant reductions in greenhouse gases," he wrote.

Instead, Shapiro advises his party "to first focus on the underlying problems in the current downturn and the issues with jobs and incomes -- before we take on broad and urgent reforms in other areas. The politics, if nothing else, virtually dictate it, since a growing economy that creates large numbers of new jobs and pushes up incomes is always a prerequisite for the public's support for reforms that, one way or another, end up imposing new costs on them."

Rob's latest column, "The Problem with Jobs and Wages," was also featured in Mark Thoma's Economist's View and published in the Huffington Post.

Morley and Mike had an excellent op-ed about health care reform and generational attitudes in Roll Call. The full text is available on our blog here.

Finally, Michael Moynihan had a thought-provoking piece on trade and carbon featured in Grist.