Author: Charles Lenchner

A Synopsis of ‘Conservatives for Single Payer’

Single-payer healthcare is back on the radar after the collapse of Trump’s attempt to “repeal and replace” the ACA. Senator Bernie Sanders announced that he would be introducing a “Medicare for All” bill soon. While pollsters have known for years that a majority of Americans support single-payer, universal heath care, including many Republicans, the conservative case for it hasn’t received much attention.

Conservative pundit David Frum writes:
“Whatever else the 2016 election has done, it has emancipated Republicans from one of their own worst self-inflicted blind spots. Health care may not be a human right, but the lack of universal health coverage in a wealthy democracy is a severe, unjustifiable, and unnecessary human wrong. As Americans lift this worry from their fellow citizens, they’ll discover that they have addressed some other important problems too.”  (http://pnhp.org/blog/2017/03/28/can-more-republicans-support-single-payer/)

The problems Frum lists range from hindered entrepreneurship, the struggles of the white working class, and a lack of racial equity. While not all of these problems weigh equally on the minds of conservatives, the understanding that universal health care coverage will make other goals easier to achieve.

Avik Roy of National Review argues that Republicans must “come to agree that it’s a legitimate goal of public policy to ensure that all Americans have access to quality health care” and that it is a mistake to “cede this moral ground to the Left”. He continues: “To credibly advance this approach, conservatives must make one change to their stance: They have to agree that universal coverage is a morally worthy goal…Ensuring that every American has access to quality health coverage is a legitimate goal of public policy, and it can be done in a way that expands freedom and reduces the burden on American taxpayers.” (http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/368772/conservative-case-universal-coverage-avik-roy)

Many past arguments against universal healthcare have revolved around a dislike of larger government, and the burden on taxpayers Roy mentions. In his article in IVM, Craig Burlin argues that neither of these have to be a reality in order to accomplish something along the lines of “Medicare for All”. He points out that:

“Unless someone is very poor or disabled and likely receiving disability or Medicaid benefits already, the tax base can be broad. This could be via a transaction tax, meaning everyone would pay including the underground economy and those who are at an age where they might forego coverage. The insurance pool would therefore be 100%, an actuarial benefit.” (https://ivn.us/2016/03/04/conservative-solutions-to-universal-health-care/)

He also references Australia’s system in which nearly half of the population retains private health insurance despite being entitled to free treatment, saying “Those of greater means can always afford things others cannot”.  Burlin also argues the moral stance, similar to Frum and Roy saying that “There is a compelling argument to be made that basing medical care entirely on the profit motive is likely going to produce the kinds of winners and losers that are hard to justify on an ethical basis.”

While such arguments from the right are unlikely to convert Republican Congress members any time soon, there’s evidence to suggest that movement is possible.

 

Video: Washington DC Protest against the Financial Industry

In response to the closer alliance between Wall Street and the Trump Administration, protestors staged a marriage between Donald Trump and Wall Street on Valentine’s Day, complete with giant puppets and fake money raining down on the assembled crowd. Act.tv documented Bernie Sanders’ appearance to denounce Trump’s pretense of ‘Draining the Swamp’, and lying about his ties to Wall Street.

The Assault on the CFPB: Current State of Play

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created in the face of industry resistance. With a Republican Congress and President Trump in the White House, it is facing an attack that could be the final blow.

In a joint statement last week, Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. John Ratcliffe presented the Repeal CFPB Act, which targets Title X of Dodd-Frank. The congressmen claim that if passed, the Act would “free consumers and small businesses from the CFPB’s regulatory blockades and financial activism.” In fact, it would completely eliminate the CFPB as an agency. (Consumerist, Lawmakers Introduce Legislation that would Abolish the CFPB)

Should the efforts of Cruz and Ratcliffe fail, there is still House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s plan to revise his earlier bill with the aim of weakening, if not completely destroy the CFPB and pacify banks by removing some key components of annual stress tests that evaluate how a bank will perform in a financial crisis.

In a memo to lawmakers, Hensarling outlined the details of his plan. In an article last week, Bloomberg News reported some of the specifics from the memo:

Hensarling is seeking to eliminate much of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s regulatory powers, and transform it into a law enforcement agency. The memo proposes the controversial regulator only be able to pass rules that have been mandated by Congress. The plan would further restrict the agency by eliminating its authority to supervise financial firms and doing away with a public database documenting consumer complaints. (Bloomberg News, New GOP Memo Targets Stress Tests, CFPB in Dodd-Frank Changes)

Hensarling’s other proposal addresses the role of the CFPB director. He has asserted his belief that the bureau should be under the supervision of a single director, and that the director should ‘be removable by the President at-will”. (Bloomberg News) Hensarling has also announced his opinion that the current CFPB director should be fired by Trump before his term ends next summer. The Bureau is presently engaged in appealing a court ruling that would permit the President to do exactly that without cause.

Video: Debt, Wall Street, and Public Sector Unions

At last year’s conference on Public Sector Unions, Saqib Bhatti presented on how debt has replaced income in the US economy. As debt skyrocketed, bank profits have soared, but the impacts on other parts of the economy – and particularly public workers – are negative and getting worse.

Sadiq Bhatti is the Executive Director of the ReFund America Project and a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He works on campaigns to rebalance the relationship between Wall Street and local communities.

The New Wave of Organizing on Social Media

Since Trump’s election, a number of ‘new’ network and campaigns have sprung up, seemingly out of nowhere. The smallest of these groups has attracted thousands of volunteers in a short period of time. New Labor Forum compiled this list as a resource for those seeking to understand the landscape of this new wave of ‘from below’ activism.

The largest and most prominent of these is of course the recent Women’s March on Washington, which took place this past Saturday. They intend on continuing the mission of the march with actions promoted to their supporters.

It’s true that the ‘newness’ of each group is up for debate; an effort led by Michael Moore might be new, but his personal brand is not. The resource guide based group ‘Indivisible’ is new, but the founding members are congressional staffers who are known quantities to many political insiders. What is new, is that social media and the rapidly accelerating news cycle have made it possible for newly crafted brands to appear out of nowhere and engaged millions in intense, sustained activism in a matter of weeks, leaving established organizations to look for ways to connect in order to remain relevant.

 

One Hundred Days of Resistance

Michael Moore

He is calling for actions during the first 100 days and releasing his new film TrumpLand.

Links: http://www.100daysofresistance.org

 

Beau Willimon and Action Group Network

They are creating a national network of Action Groups to foster a ‘culture of change’. Groups are organized by location and issue. (Willimon is a screenwriter for House of Cards.)

Links: http://actiongroups.net/

 

Women’s March 10 Actions 100 Days

A continuation of the project started by the Women’s March on Washington. They will post actions to their website over Trump’s first 100 days in office.

Links: https://www.womensmarch.com/100/

https://www.facebook.com/womensmarchonwash/?fref=ts

 

Indivisible

‘A practical guide for resisting the Trump Agenda’ written by Congressional staffers. They seem very open to comments and ideas for improving the guide, which is published online.

Links: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/web @IndivisibleTeam

 

Democratic Coalition Against Trump

Also known as DCAT, they formed initially to prevent Trump from getting elected. Their new mission is holding the Trump and his administration accountable along with any elected officials who support him.

Links: https://www.democraticcoalition.org/about https://www.facebook.com/TheDemocraticCoalition/

 

The Sister District Project

They are working to ensure the voting protections of all American citizens by using the resources of progressive districts.

Links: https://www.sisterdistrict.com

https://www.facebook.com/sisterdistrict/?fref=ts

 

Trump Resistance Movement

A facebook page dedicated to the peaceful resistance against the intolerance coming from the Trump Administration

Links: https://www.facebook.com/TrumpResistanceMovement

 

Knock Every Door

launching nationwide, volunteer-led canvasses to organize our communities against Trump, starting right after the inauguration on January 20

Links: https://www.facebook.com/knockeverydoor/

KnockEveryDoor.org

 

Rise When We Fall

A citizen watchdog organization enabling Americans to take action against the Trump Administration and Congress, as well as local and state governments.

Links: https://risewhenwefall.org/

 

2 Hours a Week

A community fostering a new level of civic engagement following the 2016 election by offering you 2 hours a week of tangible action.

Links: 2hoursaweek.org

 

SwingLeft

Swing Districts are places where the winner of the last House of Representatives election was determined by a thin margin. Swing Left helps you find and commit to supporting progressives in your closest Swing District so that you can help ensure we take back the House in 2018.

Links: Swingleft.org

 

Organizer’s Roundtable

Organizer’s Roundtable is a people-powered movement that formed in the wake of the 2016 US elections as a response to threats to our communities, our rights, and our freedoms.

Links: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1698641347093361/

 

 

 

LittleSis – the Database of Hidden Relationships Among the Powerful

LittleSis is the snarky alternative to Big Brother – a way for the little people to watch the powerful. A project of Public Accountability Project, a public watchdog group, LittleSis is a tool for conducting research on corporate power and the wealthy, to track corruption and conflicts of interest.

As the names of cabinet appointments have been made public, LittleSis has been posting reports about the relationships between nominees and corporate entities, to help the public better understand who and what they represent.

TRUMP TREASURY PICK CULTIVATED CLOSE TIES TO POLICE WHILE RUNNING “FORECLOSURE MACHINE”
SCOTT PRUITT: TRUMP’S NOMINEE TO LEAD THE E.P.A.

 

 

New Titles From NLF Authors

The City Is the Factory examines the “relocation of the space of protest from the factory to the city . . . see[ing] in it a shift that is both historically distinct and politically significant. Across these city-oriented struggles, [the book’s essay’s] focus on the increasing prominence of what Henri Lefebvre called “right to the city” demands and...

Read more

Winter 2017

Volume 26 Issue 1 Winter 2017

 

CONTENTS

From the Editorial Team

Under the Radar

By Sarah Jaffe

Unreported and under-reported news and views that matter.

On the Contrary

Did the Sanders Campaign Represent a Missed Opportunity for the U.S. Labor Movement? A Debate


We Believe that We Can Win!

By Larry Cohen


Why Hillary Clinton Deserved Labor’s Support

By Randi Weingarten and Leo Casey


The Future of Urban Populism: Will Cities Turn the Political Tides?

By J. Phillip Thompson

What are the prospects of an urban populism that requires people of color and white millennials to combine forces?

 

Victory at Verizon: The Anatomy of a Strike  

By Dan DiMaggio

Why the Verizon strike is a wake-up call for the labor movement facing technological change.

 

Milking Workers, Breaking Bodies: Health Inequality in the Dairy Industry

By Julie C. Keller, Margaret Gray, and Jill Lindsey Harrison

Will justice come to the new factories in the field?

 

Trust-Busting: Labor’s Forgotten Cause

By Carl T. Bogus

Workers should make common cause with consumers to break up corporate monopolies.

 

How Veterans Are Losing the War at Home: Making America Pain-Free for Plutocrats

and Big Pharma, but not Vets

By Ann Jones

Corporate America’s campaign to dismantle the public health care system for veterans.

 

Labor Under Putin: The State of the Russian Working Class    

By Paul T. Christensen

Can Russian workers stand up to the Putin oligarchy? 

 

Prison Guard Unions and Mass Incarceration: Prospects for an Improbable Alliance

By Austin McCoy

Can prisoner and their guards unite against the prison-industrial complex?

 

Income Inequality and Urban Displacement: The New Gentrification

By Karen Chapple

Is the affordable housing crisis really an income crisis?

 

Earth to Labor: Dispatches from the Climate Battleground

Standing Rock Solid with the Frackers: Are the Trades Putting Labor’s head in the Gas Oven?

By Sean Sweeney

 

Roots of Rebellion: A Guide to Insurgencies from Coast to Coast

Is This How You Treat a Guest? Seafood Processing Workers Organize to Change Low-Road Labor Laws

By Mariya Strauss

 

Organized Money: What Is Corporate America Thinking?

Gutting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau   

By Max Fraser

 

Books and the Arts

Pressing Charges

Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America’s Largest Criminal Court

By Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve

Reviewed by Zohra Ahmed

 

Beg, Borrow, or Steal

Between Debt and the Devil: Money, Credit, and Fixing Global Finance

By Adair Turner


How the Other Half Banks: Exclusion, Exploitation, and the Threat to Democracy

By Mehrsa Baradaran

Reviewed by Andrew Elrod

 

Life Beyond Liberalism

The Future We Want: Radical Ideas for the New Century

Edited by Sarah Leonard and Bhaskar Sunkara

Reviewed by Kate Aronoff

 

Act Local

The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and The Rise of a New Justice Movement

By William Barber (with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove)


America’s Social Arsonist: Fred Ross and Grassroots Organizing in the Twentieth Century

By Gabriel Thompson

Reviewed by Steve Early

 

Out of the Mainstream: Books and Films You May Have Missed

By Matt Witt

 

Poetry

The City in Which I Love You

By Li-Young Lee

 

Letter to the Editor    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Election Debrief: Reporters’ Roundtable (Video)

Click image to watch video.

Reporters' Roundtable

A discussion between Laura Flanders, Jamilah King, Harold Meyerson, and Julio Ricardo Varela

 

To what degree is the election outcome largely a result of an anxious and enraged white working class, sections of which either endorse the Trump campaign’s virulent racism or are willing to overlook it in favor of his tough talk on free trade and a rigged political system? How should labor and progressive activists understand and respond to the racism the campaign both fueled and exposed? What did the 2016 election tell us about the wisdom and viability of the Obama coalition, which depends on demographic changes presumed to be advantageous, rather than on birthing a multi-racial working-class? What was the nature and extent of organized labor’s impact on the election, particularly in the rust belt?