Commies vs. Wimps

COMMIES vs. WIMPS….Over at MaxSpeak, Josh Bivens has a long and interesting post today explaining what he thinks are the four key differences between the center-left and left-wings of the Democratic coalition on economic issues. I’m a little surprised to find that, apparently, I’m considerably closer to the left wing than I am to the center-left.

Does this mean I’m a closet communist? Or does it mean that even Josh isn’t as far left as he thinks? You’ll have to read his full post to see what I’m talking about, but here’s the nickel version of where I line up on his four key issues:

  1. Scale: I’m with Josh almost completely. Sign me up for national healthcare, early childhood education, and helping out the working class. (I probably need a little convincing on worker adjustment programs, though primarily on grounds of practicality.)

  2. Strategy: I’m a pragmatist. Whatever works. But I think Josh is almost certainly correct that trying to work with Republican moderates is a doomed strategy today (though I’m not sure that was quite so obvious in 1993-94).

  3. Primary vs. secondary interventions to address income inequality: Josh’s examples of primary interventions are stronger unions and a higher minimum wage, and I’m for ’em. (Though I’m for fairer taxes too.) And I agree completely that a broad array of modest measures is better than trying to rely on just one or two big secondary measures.

  4. Full employment vs. balancing the budget: I’m basically on the full employment side, though I suspect Josh is more on the full employment side than I am.

I imagine that if we sat down and discussed the details we’d find more points of disagreement than are obvious here. And maybe Josh isn’t fairly characterizing the center left. And of course, neither of us are kidding ourselves that any of these things are going to find widespread support anytime soon.

But interesting reading nonetheless. Maybe Gene Sperling will respond somewhere.

UPDATE: Josh Bivens wrote this post, not Max Sawicky as I originally indicated. Sorry about that. I’ve corrected the text throughout.