Workers & Economic Inequality

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Lindsey Graham: Wrong on Everything

TCF fellow Michael Cohen reminds us that there's potential for South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham to be a contender in the 2016 Republican presidential primary race. Although Senator Graham claims he is "more right than wrong," there's contention when it comes to his foreign policy predictions and decisions, many of which inspire fear in his constituents. Cohen points out the numerous faults of the Senator who regularly uses hyperbolic language and repeatedly dubs America “the good guys” in the global community.

Graham would likely defend his past statements by saying that Obama screwed up all the gains made in Iraq by withdrawing U.S. troops in 2011. It’s of course a regular GOP refrain. Yet for Graham, it’s an interesting position to take because under the Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq, Obama was mandated to end the U.S. troop presence if he could not get the Iraqis to agree to provide legal protections for U.S. soldiers. This is a subject that Graham likely knows something about, seeing as he is judge advocate general in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. Indeed, if there is anyone in the Senate who should understand the need for clear legal protections when deploying U.S. troops overseas it would be Graham.

Check out Michael Cohen's full article.

Tags: south carolina, presidential race, lindsey graham, gop party, 2016 election

In State of the Union, Obama Offers a Choice

In the wake of Tuesday's State of the Union address delivered for the 7th time by President Obama, there has been substantial discussion over how he will govern during his remaining time in office. TCF fellow Michael Cohen says it it looks like it's going to be up to the American people who were given a choice by the President between, "his view of America’s future and that of Republicans." The speech was deliberate in its divisive rhetoric, pitting the working class Democrats versus the 1 percent Republicans, potentially making Obama seem like a bit of a lame-duck president.

In that sense, Obama’s State of the Union was a lame-duck speech, but it was also a hard-nosed political speech that was intended to cast Democrats as the party of the middle class and of the forgotten man and woman, and the Republicans as the party of the one percent. Obama showed that he fully intends not only to maintain his relevance as president, but that he will do everything in his power to leave behind as his legacy a strengthened Democratic Party and a political narrative in which the fundamental differences between the two parties could not be clearer.

The full piece from Boston Globe can be read here.

Tags: state of the union, president obama, middle class, lame duck president, gop congress, 1 %

Bursting The Myths About LBJ

TCF fellow Michael Cohen reminds us of how much influence a president actually has, particularly on domestic issues, in the face of the legislative process. Cohen gives an overview of the policy wins accomplished by President Lyndon Baines Johnson including passing Medicare and Medicaid, expanding public education, new initiatives on children’s health care, mental health, and anti-poverty programs, immigration reform, highway beautification, and environmental restrictions on air and water pollution. It's essential to recognize that the failures and successes of LBJ are at the root of our politics today.

As a legislative battler, Johnson viewed politics in crude, transactional terms, where political support could be traded for a parochial benefit that he, as president, could provide. (This was a man, after all, who believed that he could convince Ho Chi Minh to give up his fight for a unified Vietnam in return for a Tennessee Valley Authority for the Mekong Delta.)

Read Cohen's full article.

Tags: president, lyndon johnson, legislation, lbj, domestic policy

Foreign Policy Wins Obama Could Still Pull Off

Despite being called a "lame-duck" president for the remainder of his second term in office, President Obama has shown that he intends to throw some curveballs at Congress despite their clashing viewpoints on both foreign and domestic policy. TCF fellow Thanassis Cambanis suggests the daring president is capable of taking a stand on torture, reach a detente with North Korea, establish a deal-to-end-all-deals with Iran, and put some distance between the US and Israel.

Despite keeping his promises to end two wars and to reestablish America’s power to persuade, not just coerce, Obama has drawn some scorn as a foreign policy president. Poobahs across the spectrum from right to left have derided him for not having a policy (drifting on Syria, passively responding to the Arab Spring), for naively pursuing diplomacy (the reset with Russia, the pivot to Asia), for adopting his predecessor’s militarism (the surge in Afghanistan, the war on ISIS).

But, free from any future elections, the president may finally be at liberty to engineer bigger symbolic moves, like the recent rapprochement with Cuba. He can even try for politically unpopular policy realignments that would ultimately benefit his successor.

The full article was published in Boston Globe.

Tags: president obama, north korea, lame duck president, israel palestine peace, foreign policy, domestic policy

The Honey Badger Presidency

TCF fellow Michael Cohen compares President Barack Obama to a honey badger, describing his behavior since the midterm elections as bold, fearless, and undaunted. Cohen says that the president seems to have decided that if he wants to accomplish anything he will have to do it himself, due to inaction by Congress.

So while Obama might be a lame duck, his willingness to act unilaterally and take steps that bolster his party’s political base — and inflame Republicans — are helping ensure that he remains the most relevant figure in American politics. In short, welcome to the honey badger presidency.

The full article can be read in Boston Globe.

Tags: presidential veto, obama, gop congress

Egypt Extends Presidential Vote a Third Day Amid Low Turnout

Bloomberg quotes TCF senior fellow Michael Wahid Hanna in a recent article about the voter turnout in Egypt's presidential campaign. 


Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said yesterday turnout has exceeded 30 percent, according to the state-run Ahram Gate website. That compares with more than 50 percent in the 2012 election Mursi won. About 53 million Egyptians are eligible to vote. El-Sisi already won more than 90 percent of votes among Egyptian expatriates this month.

“The authorities are acting in a panicked and amateurish fashion in response to projected low voter turnout,” said Michael Wahid Hanna, senior fellow at The Century Foundation. Aside from the boycott by Mursi supporters, other reasons include “voter fatigue, disillusionment with politics in general, and the fact that there is no real competition,” he said.

Read the full article here

Tags: voter turnout, president, michael wahid hanna, election, egyptian elections


Workers & Economic Inequality

Workers & Economic Inequality

In recent decades, and especially since 2000, the richest Americans have enjoyed soaring income and wealth while the rest of the population's living standards have stagnated. The Century Foundation was one of the first institutions to raise serious concerns about these trends and propose ideas for improving economic conditions for all Americans- not just the fortunate few.

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