NDN Weekly

NDN Weekly: NDN on the Stimulus, The Economy, Climate Change & More


The Super Bowl is over, but this year's biggest political matchup is just getting underway. President Barack Obama’s economic recovery and reinvestment plan is working its way through Congress. Last week, the House passed the bill, and the Senate will take up its version this week. Jake Berliner, Deputy Policy Director of our Globalization Initiative, compiled a must-read primer of NDN’s major work on the recovery and reinvestment plan in this backgrounder. Featured in the backgrounder is a new essay from Michael Moynihan, Director of NDN’s Green Project. In Clearing the Decks for the Next Expansion, Moynihan looked forward to 2012, and laid out a four-step plan to put the economy back on track in the next three years:

We need to act decisively, but intelligently, to put this recession behind us. The stimulus package is not a cure-all, but it will help restore liquidity to the economy. The key here is to pass it quickly rather than haggling over details. The greatest task is probably to revamp and refashion the clumsy TARP program into a multi-pronged policy to restore the health of the financial sector. The government needs to help banks clear their books of non-performing loans.

In another essay, Rob Shapiro, Chair of NDN's Globalization Initiative, suggested a way to stabilize the foundation of our economy. By imposing a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures, and converting distressed mortgages to a 30-year fixed rate of 5.25%, we will keep people in their homes and address one of the underlying flaws causing this crisis.

Despite aggressive courting by the White House, not a single House Republican voted in favor of the bill. In response to this seeming failure of bipartisanship, Simon authored a new essay, The Utter Bankruptcy of Today’s Republican Party. In a new essay posted today on Huffington Post, Simon writes that Michael Steele's acession to the chairmanship of the party is a hopeful sign, but not a sea change for the GOP. For more reading on the subject, see Simon's backgrounder, in which he highlighted some of our earlier writings on the state of the modern conservative movement and the end of the conservative ascendancy.


As all economic indicators point to a continually worsening economic future, Vice President Joe Biden announced a new Task Force on Middle Class Working Families. We released a statement in response to Biden’s announcement:

"For many Americans, the current economic crisis began long before our financial markets weakened and the economy went into recession," said NDN President Simon Rosenberg. "In the years before the recession began, America was in recovery, but the income of a typical family dropped and wages stagnated. Never before had the incomes of Americans not risen during a sustained period of national economic growth. Coming to understand why this unprecedented economic event took place, and crafting a plan to not just create a new era of growth and prosperity, but one that is broad-based, where every day people can once again share in the growth, is one of the most important governing challenges facing America today.

Joe Biden"Making the struggle of every day people the central focus on our national debate has been of NDN's top priorities these last few years," added Rosenberg. "We welcome the Obama Administration's desire to take this issue head on and applaud them for the establishing this new Task Force on the Middle Class and for sending a clear signal of its importance by putting Vice President Biden in charge. We look forward to working with this new task force in these critical months and years ahead."
Click here to read the statement on our blog and peruse links to our economic work on keeping the focus on everyday people.


President Obama has already taken great strides toward creating a low-carbon economy for the future. Shapiro has been encouraged by the steps that have been taken, but, in a new essay, he argues that the provision that matters most is putting a price on carbon to steer our economy naturally toward a low-carbon future:

Making people pay more for carbon-intensive energy and the products and services produced with it means that, well, people have to pay more – and people don’t like that, especially in very hard economic times. And the inconvenient truth is, those are only the beginning of the costs to contain climate change, since retrofitting our factories, offices, homes and our power systems for less carbon-intensive and energy-intensive technologies and materials will cost everyone, well, a lot more than the stimulus package. To his credit, President Obama corrected one of his rivals for the nomination who tried to claim that we could beat climate change at little cost. And there is some other good news here: The costs to redo our lives around more climate-friendly fuels and technologies can be spread over two generations – and paying those costs will save much of planet for our grandchildren.


NDN Fellows Morley Winograd and Mike Hais are featured in today’s Roll Call, with an op-ed discussing the civic engagement that typifies the Millennial Generation and is embodied by President Obama.

Roll Call LogoRealignments like these occur about every four decades with the coming of age of a new, large, dynamic generation of young Americans whose political participation is enabled by a new communication technology. The most recent makeover stemmed from the emergence of the "civic" Millennial Generation (born between 1982 to 2003) and their use of social networks. Civic generations, like the Millennials and the GI Generation before it, are group-oriented, cooperative, and pragmatic. Their behavior stands in stark contrast to the individualistic and ideological Baby Boomers, who dominated American politics for the previous 40 years.

Click here to read the full essay. If you do not have a subscription to Roll Call, click here to read an earlier version on the NDN Blog.


In her weekly immigration update, Zuraya Tapia-Alfaro comments on a New York Times editorial about the streak of racialist extremism exposed by a group seeking to speak for the future of the Republican Party. Her roundup also includes NDN’s note highlighting “The Star Spanglish Banner,” which the New York Times called a “puerile bit of Latino-baiting." She comments on Michael Steele’s position on immigration reform; new senior appointments at the Department of Homeland Security; and how Obama must embrace immigrants.

Zuraya also put together a backgrounder recapping NDN's key work on comprehensive immigration reform, the changing demographic realities of 21st century America and Hispanic electoral trends.


In his weekly New Tools feature, Dan Boscov-Ellen pulls together NDN’s influential collection of papers that have helped many progressives manage the transition to a 21st century media and technology environment. He also posts a series of videos of top experts explaining the New Tools to audiences at past NDN events.


U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand is now U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, representing the people of New York State in the U.S. Senate. Kirsten is an old friend of NDN's, having served on the board of our New York Network before becoming a Member of Congress. We could not be more pleased at this exciting news, and we congratulate her on her new job.


It was a good week for NDN in the media. After NDN broke the story of Chip Saltsman's Other Song on Thursday, our post was featured in Politico and as the feature story on the front page of the The Huffington Post. The story was also picked up by Kos over at DailyKos, and even made it into The New York Times's Sunday editorial.

Along the same lines, Simon was quoted in the Spanish-language paper Terra on immigration reform, and was the lone voice of reason in a Los Angeles Times op-ed by Ira Mehlman on the same topic. His recent essay about the Republican party and race, "Steele, the GOP and Confronting the Southern Strategy," was also featured on the front page of the Huffington Post. Finally, Simon was also quoted in AFP and Red Orbit about how President Obama will use his Web-based campaign organization moving forward. From the AFP piece, entitled "Obama Retools Campaign Machine":

Simon Rosenberg, president of NDN, a progressive think tank here, likened Organizing for America to former president Bill Clinton's attempt to build a grass roots pressure group on health care reform but agreed that "there really hasn't ever been anything like it before."
"Barack is not like any other candidate," he said. "He comes to Washington with more supporters and more modern tools than anyone in history. Barack is going to reinvent the presidency the way he reinvented the campaign."

Rob was quoted in the Los Angeles Times about cap-and-trade versus a carbon tax, and in the International Herald-Tribune on the stimulus package.


CFO - NDN is seeking a CFO with four to five years of experience in financial management to direct and oversee all financial activities of the organization, including preparation of current financial reports and forecasts for economic trends and future growth. For more details, visit our jobs page or contact jobs@ndn.org for more information.

Winter and Spring Interns - NDN is looking for interns to join our staff this winter and spring. If you or someone you know is interested in working at NDN during this exciting time, visit our internships page or contact jobs@ndn.org.

NDN Weekly: NDN on the Inauguration, the Stimulus & More

Welcometo the NDN weekly update e-mail! Be sure to check our Web site and our blog for new essays, videos, and other features on politics, the economy, and the world.


Simon on YouTubeBarack Obama took the oath of office last week, and we at NDN applaud him heartily on this great occasion. Simon reflected on this momentous day in two videos and posts. The first video reviewed our argument these past few years that a “new politics” is emerging in America, very different from the politics of days past. In the second video, Simon reflects on how the idea of race is changing in America, and how Obama’s election offers us a chance to redefine what race is in the America of the 21st century. In a third post, Simon makes the case the ethic of this new day might be described as “it's time just to put things right.”

NDN fellows and co-authors of Millenial Makeover Morley Winograd and Mike Hais took the inaugural occasion to urge our president to take advantage of the civic nature of the Millenial Generation, reduce ideological divisions, and bring all Americans together. Through his actions and through his words, Obama can-- and must-- unite this country once again.


Just before the inauguration of our new President, the House Leadership introduced its version of the economic recovery package. That day, NDN released this statement:

"President-elect Obama has made clear that this proposal should not only create more jobs, but do so in ways that will help drive the development of a real, 21st century workforce and genuine 21st century economic infrastructure," said Dr. Robert Shapiro, the Chair of NDN’s Globalization Initiative. "Investments in this 21st century economic infrastructure, such as increased broadband access, computers in schools, health information technology and provisions to green the federal government, are critical to increasing demand for the important technologies and skills that will in turn expand the nation’s capacity for innovation and economic growth."

NDN President Simon Rosenberg praised both the recovery package and President-elect Obama’s commitment to use TARP funds to help keep people in their homes.

"For years, NDN has argued that the central economic issue of our time has been the stagnating wages and incomes of everyday Americans, which led directly to the overleveraging of Americans' largest assets: their homes," Rosenberg said. "By pledging to use TARP funds to keep people in their homes, using part of the recovery package to stabilize the housing market, which is the root cause of the financial crisis, and targeting investments to create long-term prosperity, President-elect Barack Obama and the Congress have made a crucial commitment to focus America’s economic strategy on the well-being of everyday people."

"The new prominence of critical investments in clean technology and clean infrastructure in this package rightly shows that clean energy is no longer a marginal topic and now sits at the heart of America’s economic strategy," said Michael Moynihan, the Director of NDN’s Green Project, who has long argued for clean infrastructure investment. "The inclusion of $32 billion in clean technology investments at the center of this package is not only vital to addressing our short term crisis but also has the potential to power the next great wave of prosperity."

For more on NDN’s work promoting economic recovery, please see "A Stimulus for the Long Run," (pdf) an essay penned by Simon and Rob Shapiro, and "Acceleratingthe Development of a 21st Century Economy: Investing in Clean Infrastructure," (pdf) an essay by Michael Moynihan.


To find out what's new in the world of immigration reform, be sure to check out Zuraya Tapia-Alfaro's weekly immigration update. After U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid's statements on immigration reform on "Meet the Press" a few weeks ago, she follows his stance on reform during an interview with Spanish-language Univision on Al Punto. She highlights evidence that immigration reform is and will remain a top priority for Hispanics, as well as evidence of bipartisan support for reform. Zuraya comments on the recent GAO study finding that US Citizenship and Immigration Services did not adhere to certain accounting standards when developing its fee schedule, looks back on NDN’s participation in pre-inaugural events, and points to additional reasons why economic recovery and immigration reform go hand in hand.


President Barack Obama’s inauguration last week shattered records for U.S. Internet traffic. A full 60% of Americans watched the Inaugural ceremonies, and CNN said it provided 21.3 million video streams that day. In his weekly New Tools feature, Dan Boscov-Ellen takes a look at how the Web is changing our media consumption habits, and discusses the need to invest in our broadband infrastructure to bring more Americans into the 21st century.


NDN Fellows Winograd and Hais provided some context and insight into the generational implications of last week's inauguration in the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes, the Palm Beach Post, and the Orlando Sentinel. From the Chronicle:

Morley Winograd, an author and a fellow at NDN, a progressive think tank and advocacy organization, says the Woodstock comparison is entirely appropriate. "This is their moment to demonstrate to America what they think America's future should be like," said Winograd. "They are going to celebrate that and underline it for all of America. Of course, the race relations breakthrough is huge, and the media will be focused on it ... but the generational difference, the moment the generational shift takes place, is also an important story."

Simon was quoted in the Financial Times and the Boston Globe on the challenges facing our new president. From the Globe:

"These are happy times for our politics, but a very tough time for the country," said Simon Rosenberg, president of NDN, a progressive think tank. "There's both tremendous hope and a great deal of sobriety. People are having both of these feelings at the same time."

Simon was also featured in The Caucus, a blog published by the New York Times, talking about immigration reform.


CFO - NDN is seeking a CFO with four to five years of experience in financial management to direct and oversee all financial activities of the organization, including preparation of current financial reports and forecasts for economic trends and future growth. For more details, visit ourjobs page or contact jobs@ndn.orgfor more information.

Winter and Spring Interns- NDN is looking for interns to join our staff this winter and spring. If you or someone you know is interested in working at NDN during this exciting time, visit our internships page or contact jobs@ndn.org.

NDN Weekly: Our Take on the Stimulus, Clean Infrastructure Event with Rep. Blumenauer & More

Welcome to our new weekly update! We hope this proves to be a useful forum for you to keep up with everything going on at NDN. To get this update via e-mail on Mondays, click here.


As President-elect Barack Obama discussed his economic recovery plan, NDN Globalization Chair Dr. Robert Shapiro argued that, in addition to unprecedented stimulus, we must address the underlying forces troubling the economy, including the incredibly weak housing market and the ailing financial sector:

The new Administration can address these challenges directly, as candidate Obama pledged to do with extraordinary foresight. For example, we can impose a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and use the time to renegotiate the terms of tens of thousands of distressed mortgages held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. One idea promoted by many economists is to convert those mortgages to 30-year fixed at 5.25 percent, which happens to be the long-term mean rate for Fannie and Freddie mortgages.

It won’t stop foreclosures, but it should bring down foreclosure rates to near-normal levels, which would do more to stabilize the financial system than the bailouts in the Bush Administration's own Wall Street version of tsunami stimulus. And some tough love from the new Treasury Secretary could help restart the lending process: having done what we can to stabilize the value of their portfolios, we should consider requiring institutions receiving federal aid to use a real share of that assistance to restart their lending.

Additionally, Melissa Merz and Jake Berliner took a look at the green jobs and green stimulus aspects of Obama's economic recovery plan. For more on the green stimulus, come to our event with Rep. Earl Blumenauer this Wednesday!


Rep. BlumenauerClean Infrastructure: Transportation Policy for the 21st Century
Wednesday, January 14, 12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Cannon House Office Building, Room 345

NDN's Green Project will host Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Chris Leinberger of the Brookings Institution, and Bob Peck of Jones Lang LaSalle in a discussion of policy options to create a clean, low-carbon transportation infrastructure, including ideas to be incorporated in the upcoming stimulus package and the 2009 Transportation Bill.

Click here for more information, and to RSVP, please click here.


To find out what's new in the world of immigration reform, be sure to check out Zuraya Tapia-Alfaro's weekly immigration update. This week, she speculates on what the debate over the economic stimulus could mean for immigration reform, and comments on the current Administration’s last-ditch effort to appear "tough" on immigration. She also looks at the potential impact on immigration reform from Gov. Kaine's appointment to DNC Chair, and continues to analyze the effect of our changing demographics on the political landscape, and the latest in the horror of hate crimes.


Following on Gen. Colin Powell's call to national service last week, NDN fellows Morley Winograd and Mike Hais authored a short essay on the willingness and potential for the Millenial Generation to improve their country by rallying to public service. By asking us all to make a commitment to our cities, towns, and communities, Barack Obama is showing he understands that America has moved to a new era of public engagement, driven by the civic-mindedness of the Millenial Generation.

If you'd like to show your commitment to civic engagement by participating in the National Day of Service on Monday, January 19, click here to find an event, or here to get more information.


Dick Tracys Mobile PhoneIn this week's New Tools feature, Dan Boscov-Ellen explores how the development of mobile technology is changing the way Americans consume media and connect with others. The emergence of WiFi-capable phones, combined with ever-increasing WiFi penetration, means that more and more mobile users are able to access high-quality media on their devices. It also means that mobile phones are increasingly becoming the go-to devices for mobile Internet access.

For more on why mobile phones and Web video matter in politics and the world today, and how to use mobile technology and video to message more effectively, check out our New Politics Institute papers, Go Mobile Now and Reimagine Video.


Simon was quoted in the new cover story of New York Magazine, "A Party of One," on the unique character of this election and its implications for the future. The piece by John Heilemann echoes many of NDN's most important arguments:

Cover of New York MagazineObama is difficult to pigeonhole not simply because he’s new but because of the newness of the moment that he—and we—inhabit. It’s a moment dominated by an economic crisis that’s shaken bedrock beliefs about the infallibility of free markets. A moment when a revised architecture of power is arising globally, challenging America’s status as an unrivaled superpower. When the networked age has finally arrived, inciting the implosion of the broadcast paradigm that governed politics in the Industrial Age. When the country is being transfigured demographically, hurtling toward becoming a majority-minority nation.

This crescendo of forces produced Obama, made his ascension possible. Now he has a chance to shape the new era, to leave his stamp on it. "This really is the first presidency of the 21st century," says Simon Rosenberg, head of the Democratic advocacy group NDN. "Those who try to hold on to twentieth-century descriptions of politics are going to be disappointed and frustrated by what’s about to emerge in the new administration, because American politics no longer fits into the old boxes—and neither does Obama. For better or worse, what he is doing is building a new box."

Simon was also quoted in The Washington Times, and his essay on the need for "Progress, Not Motion" was featured in The Hill.

Rob was quoted in The National Journal, Washington Post Global, and The Street, and received a great shout-out from Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne in ECommerce Journal.

Finally, new NDN fellows Morley Winograd and Mike Hais were featured in USA Today on the realigning character of this election.


CFO - NDN is seeking a CFO with four to five years of experience in financial management to direct and oversee all financial activities of the organization, including preparation of current financial reports and forecasts for economic trends and future growth. For more details, visit our jobs page or contact jobs@ndn.org for more information.

Winter and Spring Interns - NDN is looking for interns to join our staff this winter and spring. If you or someone you know is interested in working at NDN during this exciting time, visit our internships page or contact jobs@ndn.org.

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