• The Leninist Moment of the Sanders Presidential Campaign

    The revelation of how election campaigns work and the fierce battle over Bernie Sanders’ access to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) database constitute a Leninist moment, even if for a very non-Leninist democratic socialist. The storm occurred within the confines of the presidential election, nowhere near the boundary of revolution.  Yet it was indeed a […]

  • The Doctor Will See You Now.  First, Your Copay. The Erosion of Health Security Under the Affordable Care Act

    Shortly before the websites of the Affordable Care Act went live, Senator Harry Reid called the law “a step in the right direction” (Las Vegas Sun, Aug. 10, 2013).  That meant, he said, a step toward improved Medicare for everyone.  Is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), often branded Obamacare, a step in the right direction […]

  • Senator Sanders and the Impossibility of Reviving Democratic Party Liberalism

    Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont released a 12-step economic agenda on December 1, 2014.  Cyber Monday at the start of the holiday commercial frenzy is not the best time to capture public attention, but Sanders probably has a strict timeline as he decides whether to run for president. The goals of Sanders’ agenda are worthy. […]

  • Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century: Its Uses and Limits

    Thomas Piketty.  Capital in the Twenty-First Century.  Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014.  $39.95. Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty has caused a stir, which it deserves.  Capital 21, as we will abbreviate the title, grapples with a prominent current issue: outrageously unequal incomes and wealth.  It is a data-rich, […]

  • Occupy Wall Street: Search Party for a New Equality in What We Have, What We Do

    The Occupy Wall Street camps in New York City, joined by Boston, San Francisco, and more cities every week, began with no program, but two major themes are apparent: we are 99 percent against one percent along an economic fault line, and corporate tyranny must end.  These are two banners raised by an advance search […]

  • Hope after Obama

    He came out of nowhere offering change you can believe in, and he won. But almost everything he does is an irritating failure to act, a disappointing small measure, or a major giveaway to the rich.  After two years it was no surprise that voters turned away from him in the Congressional midterm elections of […]

  • They Plunder, or We Run a New Commonwealth

    The sky has been overcast for decades.  Since 1973 the income, working conditions, and life prospects of common people in the United States have been ground down.  In 2008 the storm arrived.  A huge recession poured down sheets of unemployment, took away health care from four million more people, and pushed the carrot of retirement […]

  • Can We Ever Get Equal Care for All?

    Can we ever get equal care for all?  We can’t — at least, not by going down dead-end roads. A year ago hope was alive for equal health care for all.  Bush was defeated, and the Democrats won control of both houses of Congress.  Throughout 2009, though, every week brought a slap across the face […]

  • Shopping at WalMart for Seeds of Revolt

    The cashier was a WalMart supervisor, a black man in his 30s, crisp in the company’s blue tee-shirt uniform.  While he served the customer ahead of me, he did double duty by instructing a clerk next to him, a black woman in her 20s. “You must take your break no later than two hours after […]

  • Two Kinds of Seats at Obama’s Table

    There are two kinds of seats at President-elect Obama’s table: one for the rich, another for the common people. First, the rich.  As of Jan. 6, 2009, Obama’s Presidential Inaugural Committee had solicited and received more than $27 million, not even counting contributions of less than $200.  Nearly $18 million comes from fewer than 400 […]

  • Who’s Right about Kaiser — Michael Moore or SEIU?

    Thanks to the Watergate scandal, Michael Moore’s documentary SiCKO was able to report some history of the Kaiser Permanente health maintenance organization (HMO).  It’s history that Kaiser would prefer you do not know. Moore included tape of President Nixon and chief aide John Erlichman discussing what would become the HMO Act of 1973.  Based on […]

  • Equal Care for All, or Roll-the-Dice Care for Most?

    This year corporate employers are pushing government to take up “health reform,” largely because they see health care as a significant obstacle to profits.  Will health reform happen, and will it be an advance or a take-away for most working people? Take a look at California.  Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed near-universal healthcare early in January. […]