Monday, March 04, 2013

Independent Voters, Open Primaries, and Poverty

Nancy Folbre in her New York Times piece this week posits that "labor itself is produced outside the market..." and she points to the family as the engine of production. So too in politics, culture, science and all things human (even the family!), innovation comes from outside the existing institutions and their created markets - by definition. Big fight going on nationally around party primaries. Innovation will come from outside the partisan system, even as the out-of-power party fights the in-power party for control. Read on:


INDEPENDENT VOTERS
Why Republicans Are Out Of Step With Young Voters (by Don Gonyea, NPR) Austin Jones, a senior and an independent voter, says it's not just the Republican stand on social issues that troubles him. "Evolution is a fact. Climate change is happening. There's no arguing that. If you're arguing that, you're a fool," Jones says. Campus Democrats, meanwhile, see such comments from an independent as an opportunity.

OPEN PRIMARIES
  • A New Primary System? Two For Thought (By John Fuller/Joe Carbonari, Flathead Beacon - MT) Joe Carbonari: There is a move afoot, here in Montana and across the country as a whole, to disenfranchise and/or discourage those voters that the Republican Party cannot attract or hold. Better my Republican friends should spend their time re-examining their positions and their message. We need more voters, and more candidates, who understand the complexities of the issues that face us. Limiting the choices that voters have and working to restrict the opposition’s turnout is not good for the health of our democracy.
  • Pauls leery of using closed primary, Rep states adoption of method by Dems is bid to prevent conservative wins. (By Mary Clarkin - The Hutchinson News KS)  About 58 percent of those voting on the motion during Washington Days supported it. The Kansas Republican Party has a closed primary, and the Democrats' primary also will be closed in August 2014. The old open primary system permitted unaffiliated voters to obtain a Democratic ballot without becoming Democrats. Under a closed primary, voters at the polls wanting a Republican or Democratic ballot will have to be affiliated with either party before obtaining a ballot.

POVERTY & THE MINIMUM WAGE
  • The Business of the Minimum Wage (By CHRISTINA D. ROMER, NY Times) Instead, most arguments for instituting or raising a minimum wage are based on fairness and redistribution. Even if workers are getting a competitive wage, many of us are deeply disturbed that some hard-working families still have very little. Though a desire to help the poor is largely a moral issue, economics can help us think about how successful a higher minimum wage would be at reducing poverty.
    Minimal Wages, Minimal Families (By NANCY FOLBRE - Nancy Folbre, economist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst -NY Times/Economix "Explaining the Science of Everyday Life") So, the debate circles back to the dilemma acknowledged by classical political economy in the 19th century. The forces of supply and demand, left to themselves, treat labor like any other commodity. But labor itself is produced outside the market, by families and communities who must struggle to find ways to support their contributions to the future.
  • Economists disagree on whether the minimum wage kills jobs. Why? (Posted by Brad Plumer, Washington Post/Wonkblog) There are lots of possible ways that companies can adjust to modest wage hikes besides hiring fewer people. (Obviously if the minimum wage shot up to $100 per hour, that’d be much more disruptive, but no one is proposing that.) The basic economic theory is alluring. But the world isn’t always that simple.
    [IL Gov] Quinn calls for $10 minimum wage, gun control in State of the State (Daily Register - IL) In a nearly 40-minute speech, Quinn also called for an end to voters having to declare a party affiliation to participate in primary elections and reiterated that rising pension costs are diverting money from other state programs.

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