Read Ezra Klein’s account of the great recession and the politics, process, and policy response to it. I’m working on a longer post for later amplifying some of the key points in this deeply incisive piece of journalism.
But first, read this. It’s the NYT editorial board’s anatomy off the Wall St. protest movement. There’s a trenchant discussion of the motivation behind the movement, which as I stressed last week, is simply not the head-scratcher that a number of commentators want to make it.
At this point, the commentary has evolved from “OK, I guess they’ve got a point,” to “But what do they want?”
I agree with the NYT on this point:
It is not the job of the protesters to draft legislation. That’s the job of the nation’s leaders, and if they had been doing it all along there might not be a need for these marches and rallies. Because they have not, the public airing of grievances is a legitimate and important end in itself. It is also the first line of defense against a return to the Wall Street ways that plunged the nation into an economic crisis from which it has yet to emerge.
But the editorial also includes a great, tight paragraph of the policies that should flow from the movement:
There are plenty of policy goals to address the grievances of the protesters — including lasting foreclosure relief, a financial transactions tax, greater legal protection for workers’ rights, and more progressive taxation. The country needs a shift in the emphasis of public policy from protecting the banks to fostering full employment, including public spending for job creation and development of a strong, long-term strategy to increase domestic manufacturing.
These two must-reads are related. As I’ll stress later today (I hope—lots of kids soccer in the offing!), we need to solve the inherent limits of the policy process that Klein describes if we’re going to get to the solutions in the NYT piece.