"Argues that America's strong and sizable middle class is actually embedded in the framework of the nation's government and its founding document and discusses the necessity of taking equality-establishing measures,"--NoveList.
In this original, provocative contribution to the debate over economic inequality, Ganesh Sitaraman argues that a strong and sizable middle class is a prerequisite for America’s constitutional system. A New York Times Notable Book of 2017 For most of Western history, Sitaraman argues, constitutional thinkers assumed economic inequality was inevitable and inescapable—and they designed governments to prevent class divisions from spilling over into class warfare. The American Constitution is different. Compared to Europe and the ancient world, America was a society of almost unprecedented economic equality, and the founding generation saw this equality as essential for the preservation of America’s republic. Over the next two centuries, generations of Americans fought to sustain the economic preconditions for our constitutional system. But today, with economic and political inequality on the rise, Sitaraman says Americans face a choice: Will we accept rising economic inequality and risk oligarchy or will we rebuild the middle class and reclaim our republic? The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution is a tour de force of history, philosophy, law, and politics. It makes a compelling case that inequality is more than just a moral or economic problem; it threatens the very core of our constitutional system.
Author: Ganesh Sitaraman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2013
When the U.S. military began its "surge" in Iraq in 2006, counterinsurgency effectively became its dominant approach for fighting wars. Yet many of the major controversies and debates surrounding counterinsurgency operations have turned not on military questions but on legal ones: Who can the U.S. military attack with drones? Is the occupation of Iraq legitimate? What tradeoffs should the military make between self-protection and civilian casualties? What is the right framework for negotiating with the Taliban? How can we build the rule of law in Afghanistan? The Counterinsurgent's Constitution tackles this wide range of legal issues from the vantage point of counterinsurgency strategy. It explains why law matters in counterinsurgency, how law operates during counterinsurgency, and how law and counterinsurgency strategy can be better integrated. As Ganesh Sitaraman shows, far from being opposed, law and strategy are aligned and reinforcing. Following the laws of war is not just the right thing to do, it is strategically beneficial. Reconciliation with enemies can both end the conflict and preserve the possibility of justice for war crimes. Building the rule of law is not simply altruistic "nation-building," but an important strategy for success. The first book on law and counterinsurgency strategy, The Counterinsurgent's Constitution seamlessly integrates law and military strategy to illuminate some of the most pressing issues in warfare and the transition from war to peace.
Author: Gordon Lafer
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Release Date: 2004-07-01
Genre: Business & Economics
Job training has long been promoted as a central policy response to poverty and unemployment. Both Democrats and Republicans have trumpeted training as the answer to everything from welfare to NAFTA. The Job Training Charade provides a comprehensive critique showing that training has been a near-total failure. Even more dramatically, the book shows how politicians have ignored repeated reports of the program s failure, and have kept funding a policy they know cannot work. Gordon Lafer first examines the economic assumptions and track record of training policy. He goes on to provide a political analysis of why job training has remained so popular despite widespread evidence of its economic failure. The author concludes that job training functions less as an economic prescription aimed at solving poverty than as a political strategy aimed at managing the popular response to economic distress. The Job Training Charade is a landmark book showing how a bipartisan consensus may coalesce behind a phantom policy that serves political needs while ignoring economic realities."
Author: K. Sabeel Rahman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2016-11-03
In 2008, the collapse of the US financial system plunged the economy into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. In its aftermath, the financial crisis pushed to the forefront fundamental moral and institutional questions about how we govern the modern economy. What are the values that economic policy ought to prioritize? What institutions do we trust to govern complex economic dynamics? Much of popular and academic debate revolves around two competing approaches to these fundamental questions: laissez-faire defenses of self-correcting and welfare-enhancing markets on the one hand, and managerialist turns to the role of insulated, expert regulation in mitigating risks and promoting growth on the other. In Democracy Against Domination, K. Sabeel Rahman offers an alternative vision for how we should govern the modern economy in a democratic society. Drawing on a rich tradition of economic reform rooted in the thought and reform politics of early twentieth century progressives like John Dewey and Louis Brandeis, Rahman argues that the fundamental moral challenge of economic governance today is two-fold: first, to counteract the threats of economic domination whether in the form of corporate power or inequitable markets; and second, to do so by expanding the capacity of citizens themselves to exercise real political power in economic policymaking. This normative framework in turn suggests a very different way of understanding and addressing major economic governance issues of the post-crisis era, from the challenge of too-big-to-fail financial firms, to the dangers of regulatory capture and regulatory reform. Synthesizing a range of insights from history to political theory to public policy, Democracy Against Domination offers an exciting reinterpretation of progressive economic thought; a fresh normative approach to democratic theory; and an urgent hope for realizing a more equitable and democratically accountable economy through practical reforms in our policies and regulatory institutions.
Author: Benjamin I. Page
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 2017-11-17
Genre: Political Science
America faces daunting problems—stagnant wages, high health care costs, neglected schools, deteriorating public services. Yet the government consistently ignores the needs of its citizens, paying attention instead to donors and organized interests. Real issues are held hostage to demagoguery, partisanship beats practicality, and trust in government withers along with the social safety net. How did we get here? Through decades of dysfunctional government. In Democracy in America? veteran political observers Benjamin I. Page and Martin Gilens marshal an unprecedented array of evidence to show that while other countries have responded to a rapidly changing economy by helping people who’ve been left behind, the United States has failed to do so. Instead, we have actually exacerbated inequality, enriching corporations and the wealthy while leaving ordinary citizens to fend for themselves. What’s the solution? More democracy. More opportunity for citizens to shape what their government does. To repair our democracy, Page and Gilens argue, we must change the way we choose candidates and conduct our elections, reform our governing institutions, and curb the power of money in politics. By doing so, we can reduce polarization and gridlock, address pressing challenges, and enact policies that truly reflect the interests of average Americans. This book presents a damning indictment. But the situation is far from hopeless. With increased democratic participation as their guide, Page and Gilens lay out a set of proposals that would boost citizen participation, curb the power of money, and democratize the House and Senate. The only certainty is that inaction is not an option. Now is the time to act to restore and extend American democracy.
Author: Michael J. Sandel
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 1998
What ails democracy in America today, and what can be done about it? This work traces the political predicament to a defect in the public philosophy by which we live. The author identifies the dominant public philosophy of the 1990s and finds it flawed.
Author: Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations Clement Fatovic
Release Date: 2015-12-04
If, as many allege, attacking the gap between rich and poor is a form of class warfare, then the struggle against income inequality is the longest running war in American history. To defenders of the status quo, who argue that the accumulation of wealth free of government intervention is an essential feature of the American way, this book offers a forceful answer. While many of those who oppose addressing economic inequality through public policy today do so in the name of freedom, Clement Fatovic demonstrates that concerns about freedom informed the Founding Fathers' arguments for public policy that tackled economic disparities. Where contemporary arguments against such government efforts conceptualize freedom in economic terms, however, those supporting public policies conducive to greater economic equality invoked a more participatory, republican, conception of freedom. As many of the Founders understood it, economic independence, which requires a wide if imperfect distribution of property, is a precondition of the political independence they so profoundly valued. Fatovic reveals a deep concern among the Founders—including Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and Noah Webster—about the impact of economic inequality on political freedom. America's Founding and the Struggle over Economic Inequality traces this concern through many important political debates in Congress and the broader polity that shaped the early Republic—debates over tax policies, public works, public welfare, and the debt from the Revolution. We see how Alexander Hamilton, so often characterized as a cold-hearted apologist for plutocrats, actually favored a more progressive system of taxation, along with various policies aimed at easing the economic hardship of specific groups. In Thomas Paine, frequently portrayed as an advocate of laissez-faire government, we find a champion of a comprehensive welfare state that would provide old-age pensions, public housing, and a host of other benefits as a matter of "right, not charity." Contrary to the picture drawn by so many of today's pundits and politicians, this book shows us how, for the first American statesmen, preventing or minimizing economic disparities was essential to the preservation of the new nation's freedom and practice of self-government.
Author: David S. Brown
Publisher: UNC Press Books
Release Date: 2016-10-25
Genre: Political Science
The fierce polarization of contemporary politics has encouraged Americans to read back into their nation's past a perpetual ideological struggle between liberals and conservatives. However, in this timely book, David S. Brown advances an original interpretation that stresses the critical role of moderate statesmen, ideas, and alliances in making our political system work. Beginning with John Adams and including such key figures as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., and Bill Clinton, Brown charts the vital if uneven progress of centrism through the centuries. Moderate opposition to both New England and southern secessionists during the early republic and later resistance to industrial oligarchy and the modern Sunbelt right are part of this persuasion's far-reaching legacy. Time and again moderates, operating under a broad canopy of coalitions, have come together to reshape the nation's electoral landscape. Today's bitter partisanship encourages us to deny that such a moderate tradition is part of our historical development--one dating back to the Constitutional Convention. Brown offers a less polemical and far more compelling assessment of our politics.
Author: William D. Araiza
Publisher: NYU Press
Release Date: 2017-04-04
An introduction to the legal concept of unconstitutional bias. If a town council denies a zoning permit for a group home for intellectually disabled persons because residents don’t want “those kinds of people” in the neighborhood, the town’s decision is motivated by the public’s dislike of a particular group. Constitutional law calls this rationale “animus.” Over the last two decades, the Supreme Court has increasingly turned to the concept of animus to explain why some instances of discrimination are unconstitutional. However, the Court’s condemnation of animus fails to address some serious questions. How can animus on the part of people and institutions be uncovered? Does mere opposition to a particular group’s equality claims constitute animus? Does the concept of animus have roots in the Constitution? Animus engages these important questions, offering an original and provocative introduction to this type of unconstitutional bias. William Araiza analyzes some of the modern Supreme Court’s most important discrimination cases through the lens of animus, tracing the concept from nineteenth century legal doctrine to today’s landmark cases, including Obergefell vs. Hodges and United States v. Windsor, both related to the legal rights of same-sex couples. Animus humanizes what might otherwise be an abstract legal question, illustrating what constitutes animus, and why the prohibition against it matters more today than ever in our pluralistic society.
Author: Ganesh N. Sitaraman
Release Date: 2003
Genre: Political Science
Invisible Citizens offers a refreshingly realistic assessment of young America's attitudes towards politics and the impact of September 11 on youth political engagement. Written by young people from across the country, it elucidates the worries of a generation, untangles the true reasons for youth disinterest and disengagement with public affairs, and offers America's policymakers, educators, and parents a set of fresh solutions for restoring civic spirit among young people. The book's compelling interpretation of September 11 as an opportunity to inspire youth political engagement and renew widespread civic participation in America makes it an invaluable read for anyone concerned with the future of American politics. Its gripping memoirs and persuasive argument make it a text that cannot be overlooked. "A thoughtful, ground-level view of the single biggest crisis facing our political system: the desertion of the young. We should be paying attention." -Matt Bai, contributing writer, New York Times Magazine "These two bright new talents ask questions that will make the policymakers squirm. Presented in the voices of their peers, Sitaraman and Warren reveal the monumental challenge our leaders face in reconnecting with the youth of America. Is there a politician out there willing to rise to the test?" -Ceci Connolly, The Washington Post
Author: Thomas M. Shapiro
Publisher: Basic Books
Release Date: 2017-03-14
Genre: Business & Economics
"Everyone concerned about the toxic effects of inequality must read this book."--Robert B. Reich "This is one of the most thought-provoking books I have read on economic inequality in the US."--William Julius Wilson Since the Great Recession, most Americans' standard of living has stagnated or declined. Economic inequality is at historic highs. But inequality's impact differs by race; African Americans' net wealth is just a tenth that of white Americans, and over recent decades, white families have accumulated wealth at three times the rate of black families. In our increasingly diverse nation, sociologist Thomas M. Shapiro argues, wealth disparities must be understood in tandem with racial inequities--a dangerous combination he terms "toxic inequality." In Toxic Inequality, Shapiro reveals how these forces combine to trap families in place. Following nearly two hundred families of different races and income levels over a period of twelve years, Shapiro's research vividly documents the recession's toll on parents and children, the ways families use assets to manage crises and create opportunities, and the real reasons some families build wealth while others struggle in poverty. The structure of our neighborhoods, workplaces, and tax code-much more than individual choices-push some forward and hold others back. A lack of assets, far more common in families of color, can often ruin parents' careful plans for themselves and their children. Toxic inequality may seem inexorable, but it is not inevitable. America's growing wealth gap and its yawning racial divide have been forged by history and preserved by policy, and only bold, race-conscious reforms can move us toward a more just society.
Author: Annie Jacobsen
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: 2017-03-28
The definitive history of the military's decades-long investigation into mental powers and phenomena, from the author of Pulitzer Prize finalist The Pentagon's Brain and international bestseller Area 51. This is a book about a team of scientists and psychics with top secret clearances. For more than forty years, the U.S. government has researched extrasensory perception, using it in attempts to locate hostages, fugitives, secret bases, and downed fighter jets, to divine other nations' secrets, and even to predict future threats to national security. The intelligence agencies and military services involved include CIA, DIA, NSA, DEA, the Navy, Air Force, and Army-and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Now, for the first time, New York Times bestselling author Annie Jacobsen tells the story of these radical, controversial programs, using never before seen declassified documents as well as exclusive interviews with, and unprecedented access to, more than fifty of the individuals involved. Speaking on the record, many for the first time, are former CIA and Defense Department scientists, analysts, and program managers, as well as the government psychics themselves. Who did the U.S. government hire for these top secret programs, and how do they explain their military and intelligence work? How do scientists approach such enigmatic subject matter? What interested the government in these supposed powers and does the research continue? Phenomena is a riveting investigation into how far governments will go in the name of national security.