Night Owls is a themed open thread appearing at Daily Kos seven days a week.
Robert Reich writes—Out of the Ashes of Trump, Will the U.S. Finally Bury Reaganism? Ronald Reagan convinced the nation that big government was the problem. It was rubbish.
Republican infighting has created a political void into which Democrats are stepping with far-reaching reforms. Biden and the Democrats, who now control the White House and both houses of Congress, are responding boldly to the largest social and economic crisis since Great Depression.
Importantly, they are now free to disregard conservative canards that have hobbled America’s ability to respond to public needs ever since Ronald Reagan convinced the nation that big government was the problem.
The first is the supposed omnipresent danger of inflation and the accompanying worry that public spending can easily overheat the economy.
Rubbish. Inflation hasn’t reared its head in years, not even during the roaring job market of 2018 and 2019. “Overheating” may no longer even be a problem for globalized, high-tech economies whose goods and services are so easily replaceable.
Biden’s ambitious plans are worth the small risk, in any event. If you hadn’t noticed, the American economy is becoming more unequal by the day. Bringing it to a boil may be the only way to lift the wages of the bottom half. The hope is that record low interest rates and vast public spending generate enough demand that employers will need to raise wages to find the workers they need.
A few Democratic economists who should know better are sounding the false alarm about inflation, but Biden is wisely ignoring them. So should Democrats in Congress.
Another conservative bromide is that a larger national debt crowds out private investment and slows growth. This view hamstrung the Clinton and Obama administrations as deficit hawks warned against public spending unaccompanied by tax increases to pay for it. (I still have some old injuries from those hawks.)
Fortunately, Biden isn’t buying this, either. […]
THREE OTHER ARTICLES WORTH READING
Meet the Undercover Anti-Fascists, by Andy Kroll. Embedded with the team of anti-fascist researchers and activists who infiltrate and expose Proud Boys, neo-Nazis, militias, and other members of the violent far right.
The inside story of how the Pentagon blocked efforts to end the Iraq War, by Matthew Petti
‘Lazy,’ ‘Money-Oriented,’ ‘Single Mother’: How Union-Busting Firms Compile Dossiers on Employees, by Lauren Kaori Gurley. Leaked files from IRI Consultants, a top union avoidance firm hired by Google, show how it collects data on workers’ personality, motivations, and work ethic to bust unions.
”I know what it’s like to be on food stamps and to piece together health care for my daughter and me. I had a lot of experiences that could help my district. Every day, Americans go hungry or can’t get health care. Not to mention those who are homeless, or veterans who aren’t getting the help they need. We need to fight on behalf of all the people in this country. The more people we have in office who can relate to things that happen every day to Americans, the better off we’ll be.”
~~Rep. Debra Haaland, “Native Americans Take Power” (February 2019)
On this date at Daily Kos in 2018—EPA, researchers, congresswoman seek to shield truck-makers from rule to control killer pollution:
They call them “gliders.” They are big rigs built and sold without engines, transmissions, and rear axles. Then they are supplied with these items from salvage yards and wrecked trucks, and the engines are totally rebuilt down to the core. Rebuilt engines that, thanks to a loophole, aren’t required to meet limits on emissions from diesel-fueled trucks because they were originally built before 2001. Engines that, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, spew 43-55 times more emissions than other new big rigs.
About 4 percent of the U.S. truck market is currently made up of gliders—some 10,000 vehicles a year—in part as a result of trying to evade the diesel emissions rule on nitrogen oxide and particulate matter that came into full effect in 2010. Prior to that rule, NOx and PM emissions from big rigs were estimated to prematurely kill 1,600 people a year from cancer and asthma attacks.
Since 2010, according to the Department of Transportation, sales of gliders rose tenfold from 2010-2015. Using its authority under the Clean Air Act, the Obama administration sought in an updated emissions rule in 2015 to close this loophole by limiting to 300 the number of glider kits sold each year.
But, in November, a month before the rule came into full effect, the Trump regime in the person of EPA-hating EPA Chief Scott Pruitt exempted three makers of gliders on the ground that the agency has no authority to limit sales in this manner. And he opened a 60-day public comment period on the prospect of EPA eliminating the annual cap on gliders. That comment period is now over.
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