Pick of the Week
Obama’s Forgotten Triumphs by Suzanne Mettler. She argues that President Obama’s policy changes have targeted the submerged state (existing policies that lay beneath the surface of U.S. market institutions and within the federal tax system—and most of these policies provide the greater benefits to wealthier Americans). Because people are less cognizant of the submerged state policies, they are less cognizant of the reforms President Obama has enacted. Mettler cites the stimulus package which provided tax relief for 95% of working Americans (the Making Work Pay Tax Credit), yet only 12% of those polled correctly responded that President Obama had lowered taxes—24% thought taxes had increased. Healthcare reform and student loan reform also fall under submerged state policies.
She argues that change is possible by revealing the submerged state so citizens have a better understanding of what government policies actually do and how they work. We need to make governance more visible and understandable to the average citizen.
Voting, Not OWS, Will Change America: “In 2008, more than 65 million Americans cast Democratic votes in congressional races, a 13 million-vote edge over the Republicans. In 2010, the Democratic vote plummeted to an abysmal 35 million, 6 million less than the GOP, which took decisive power in the House and paralyzed the Senate.” Vote! Vote as your life depends on it.
In Friendship We Trust: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Gabby Giffords and Rep./DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. I Heart them.
On the Lighter Side
Wouldn’t It Be Cool if Shakespeare Wasn’t Shakespeare? Not really, says Stephen Marche: “Healthy skepticism about elites has devolved into an absence of basic literacy….Along with a right-wing antielitism, an unthinking left-wing open-mindedness and relativism have also given lunatic ideas soil to grow in. Our politeness has actually led us to believe that everybody deserves a say. The problem is that not everybody does deserve a say. Just because an opinion exists does not mean that the opinion is worthy of respect.” Marche also humorously destroys the arguments presented by the film Anonymous and the idea that Shakespeare scholars are part of some vast Shakespeare conspiracy with my new favorite line:
Let me assure everybody that Shakespeare professors are absolutely incapable of operating a conspiracy of any size whatsoever. They can’t agree on who gets which parking spot. That’s what they spend most of their time intriguing about.