If Obamacare’s survival was the biggest policy victory of the election, a close second has to be tax equity. In his first post-election presser, Obama said yesterday the nation needs to ask the richest 2 percent of the population to pony up a few more tax dollars if we’re to avoid a fiscal disaster. Congressional Democrats are in a great position to win this no-brainer before the new year, and we’ve got Senator Sheldon Whitehouse to thank for making this a kitchen sink issue with his Buffett Rule bill of last session.
Our state legislators would do well to follow this lead and pass their own tax equity bill in 2013. Speaker Gordon Fox told me on election night that the conversation has already begun.
Speaking of tax policy, the ProJo editorial board is incorrect when it asserts that state workers are to blame for Rhode Island’s relatively high cost of government. It’s got far more to do with our small size, high density and desire for top notch services and amenities.
But there’s also a larger takeaway from last Tuesday’s election on economic policy. Newsweek/Daily Beat correspondent Michael Tomasky writes:
Trickle-down economics died last Tuesday. The post-election chatter has been dominated by demographics, Latinos, women, and the culture war. But economics played a strong and even pivotal role in this election too, and Reaganomics came out a huge loser, while the Democrats have started to wrap their arms around a simple, winning alternative: the idea that government must invest in the middle class and not the rich. It’s middle-out economics instead of trickle-down, and it won last week and will keep on winning.
ProJo columnist makes a great point about Mike Riley’s sour grapes concession speech in which he blamed the media for the electoral drubbing he took from popular incumbent Jim Langevin. He writes, “Riley did say something wise, but he somehow missed how it applies to his own campaign: ‘Hopefully someday many of you will do very well because of your own hard work. You will have succeeded and you will have failed, but ultimately it will be you — and not somebody else that did it to you.’”
Here’s one way the media mistakenly makes it seem like there is fraud and waste in the public sector: GoLocal reports that 52 percent of state education dollars makes its way into the classroom. “That seems small,” says an advocate for smaller government. But it’s not. Does anyone think Hasbro spends half its resources on manufacturing toys? Or your favorite restaurant spends half of its total revenue on your food? Not if the cost was calculated the way GoLocal looked at ed. funding. The reality is we hold the public sector to a ridiculously high standard, which we should, but we shouldn’t mistake our high standards with inefficiency.
I’m absolutely thrilled to be participating in Journalism Day at URI, my alma mater! I’ll be on a panel talking about news curation, or as the URI journalism department calls it, aggregation. Whatever you want to call it, it’s the art of finding, packaging and adding value to already existing content. It’s a super important component of advocacy journalism in general and media criticism in particular for pretty obvious reasons. It’s also a super important component of beat reporting for the most obvious reason of all: it’s a service to readers. We’ll be discussing whether or not it’s ethical, which I actually think is a question that long ago was settled in the affirmative, but as with most topics, I’m more than happy to have the debate…